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 25 March 2018 Mark 11:9.

Mark 11:9.    And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord:

Oh friends, it’s Sunday, Palm Sunday, that venerable feast day in our Christian history and calendar when our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem like a conquering hero, the king He was and is, riding on the back of a humble donkey, as the jubilant people spread their clothes and palm branches in the road for Him to ride on, and they kept singing, ‘Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the Highest!’ 

Ah mih people, what a wonderful and moving spectacle that must have been, seeing and hearing the people give praise and honour and glory to our God and King, Jesus Christ. 

Likewise, this Palm Sunday morning, the Sunday before Easter, as we gather in the chapel, the sanctuary, or wherever, let’s lift up our voices in praise and glory like they did two thousand years ago, as we welcome Jesus into our hearts and spirits and surroundings. 

Let’s resurrect those shouts of Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest!’ As one awesome sounding choir now, let’s offer the sacrifice of praise through grateful lips from joyful hearts. ‘Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest, Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest Lord we lift up your name With our hearts filled with praise Be exalted OH Lord our God Hosanna in the Highest. 

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb of God Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb of God Lord we lift up your name With our hearts filled with praise Be exalted OH Lord our God Holy is the Lamb of God. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the King of Kings Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the King of Kings Lord we lift up your name With our hearts filled with praise Be exalted OH Lord our God 

Jesus is the King of Kings Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest Lord we lift up your name With our hearts filled with praise Be exalted OH Lord our God Hosanna in the Highest.’ 

Yeh friends, is it ever important that we lift up the name of Jesus, the name that’s above every other name, so that all people can bow their knees to Him and call him Lord and Saviour, for that’s exactly what He is. And now that we’ve offered praise and worship, our hearts and souls have been opened, ready to receive God’s word, that will bless and keep us for the next week. 

And here it is, describing Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. ‘And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethpage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he (Jesus) sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against (opposite) you, and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him 

And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.’ (Mark 11:1-3) 

‘All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek (lowly), and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Matt.21:4-5) 

‘And they (the disciples) went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without (outside) in a place (on the street) where two ways met; and they loose (untied) him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye do, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. 

And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way (road): and others cut down branches off the trees, and strewed them in the way (road). 

And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.’ (Mark 11:4-10) 

‘And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.’ (Matt.21:10-11) 

And there we have it friends; the word of the Lord! And all God’s people declared a loud, grateful and confident ‘All thanks and praise be to our wonderful and sovereign God!’ 

Yes my fellow believers, He is indeed worthy of all the praise and glory our hearts and souls can muster! And you’ll notice that I interspersed the words of Matthew and Mark in our gospel reading so that we could get the full benefit of the information contained in both, since they each tell the story in a slightly different manner. 

Now I sincerely hope that the gospel story and the praise and worship have touched our hearts and souls today, and will make us confident and secure to go out and face another week of work. Until next time then, the Lord willing, walk faithfully and carefully with the Saviour. Much LOVE!

…Hosanna…Hosanna…save me Jesus…save me…is the right cry for us all to call out… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 April 2017 Jeremiah 13:15.

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

Ah mih people, I do hope we had a good Palm Sunday, and did not overdo it with too much rejoicing, (smile) for today is Monday and also the beginning of Holy Week. That means we need to get up and go out strong to work as well as be ready to go prayerfully into Holy Week and all the wonderful aspects of our faith that happen at the end of it. 

And the Lord knows that although our flesh is weak, our hearts are in the right place. So let’s get a move on by singing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn which hopefully will get our engines started and our adrenaline richly flowing. 

All together now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Now that wasn’t a bad rendition at all my people, but certainly not good enough to make all heaven stand up and rejoice. So now that we have the adrenaline flowing, let’s go out into the evil world and do our ambassadorial duties much better than our singing nuh. (smile). 

That brings us to our Bit. ‘Hear ye, and give ear, be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken.’ Yeh friends, it’s ever so important for us to hear and pay serious attention when the Lord speaks. 

And what did He say: ‘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.13:16) 

Oh my brethren, are we giving God the glory He so richly and rightfully deserves? I don’t think so nuh, because our world has become so evil and ungodly that a whole generation doesn’t even know Him. Such was the state of Judah in Jeremiah’s time.  And the Lord used parable- like lessons through Jeremiah to teach them of their backsliding and the possible consequences if it continued. 

Listen to what comes next: ‘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 (mother), Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down (collapse), even the crown of your glory.’ (Jer.13:17-18)  

Yes precious people, we need to step back and take a serious look at our society, what is currently happening and what can possibly happen because of our ungodliness and prideful walk. 

Hear the scholars. ’13:15-17. A third illustration (parable-like lesson) 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.’ 

Oh friends, I couldn’t put it any better nuh. The darkness of night has overtaken our world so horribly, that darkness is all some of us know. Light, the bright burning flame of Jesus many of us have never encountered. Fortunately though, we believers, like Jeremiah, have been given the task of bringing Jesus’ light to this darkened world. 

We are the ambassadors, the modern- day equivalent of the disciples that Jesus instructed: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach 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 end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20)  

Now that is our task for today my fellow believers. So let’s get out there with diligence, hard work and excellence, perseverance and LOVING-kindness and do what we’ve been commanded to do nuh, like faithful and obedient ambassadors. Otherwise, our ungodly and wicked world is very liable to collapse around us in God’s wrath. And we wouldn’t want that now would we? Much LOVE!

…in a world full of darkness…only God’s people can bring light to it…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 April 2017 Matthew 21:5.

Matthew 21:5.    Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek (lowly), and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt the foal of an ass.

HAPPY PALM SUNDAY!

Well friends, it’s another Sunday morning in the life; an important one too – Palm Sunday – when our Lord and Saviour Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey two thousand years ago. And oh, how the enormous crowd shouted with joy, throwing their clothes and palm branches in the dusty streets of Jerusalem for the King of Kings to ride upon! 

And on this special day, we’ll open with a song of rejoicing and honour that was written in 820, especially for this occasion. So now, with much enthusiasm, joy and faithfulness, let’s offer up to heaven, a sacrifice of praise with our lips, as we declare the wonderful words of the hymn, ‘All Glory, Laud and Honour.’  

‘(Refrain: All glory, laud and honor, To Thee, Redeemer, King, To Whom the lips of children Made sweet hosannas ring.) Thou art the King of Israel, Thou David’s royal Son, Who in the Lord’s Name comest, The King and Blessèd One. (Refrain) The company of angels Are praising Thee on High, And mortal men and all things Created make reply. (Refrain) 

The people of the Hebrews With palms before Thee went; Our prayer and praise and anthems Before Thee we present. (Refrain) To Thee, before Thy passion, They sang their hymns of praise; To Thee, now high exalted, Our melody we raise. (Refrain) Thou didst accept their praises; Accept the prayers we bring, Who in all good delightest, Thou good and gracious King. (Refrain)’ 

Oh my fellow believers, how wonderful is that song of praise on this Palm Sunday morning eh! When we recall all the important and joyful stuff that went on that day it just lifts our hearts and spirits with emotions of heavenly wonder! (smile) Palm Sunday was one of the foundational stones in our Christian faith; it lifted our faith to a higher level. 

And since we just praised the day in song, let’s hear what the Good Book says about it now. ‘And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethpage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he (Jesus) sendeth forth two of his disciples. And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against (opposite) you, and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose (untie) him and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.’ (Mark 11:1-4) Bethany, 

Yes friends, Jesus had the whole show set up beforehand! Now there is a discrepancy between Mark and Matthew’s version, in that Matthew speaks about a colt and a mature donkey, while Mark only talks about the colt. And I’ve used Mark’s version because of some important words of Jesus found there; ‘whereon man never sat.’  

And the scholars tell us those words indicated that ‘An animal devoted to a sacred purpose must not have been put to common use. (Num. 19:2, Deut. 21:3) So for it to be worthy of Jesus, it must never have been ridden before. 

And the Good Book tells us why Jesus set up that scene. ‘All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,  Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek (lowly), and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Matt.21:4-5) 

Now the scholars inform us that our Bit ‘is a combination of Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9, taken substantially from the Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament.’ 

And we’ll go back to Mark for the next piece of the story, as Matthew doesn’t go into it in as much detail. ‘And they (the disciples) went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without (outside) in a place where two ways met (on the street); and they loose (untied) him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.’ (Mark11:4-6)  

Now back to Matthew. (smile)  ‘And (they) brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him (Jesus) thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed (spread) them in the way (road). 

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.’ (Matt.21:7-11) 

Ah friends, I do hope I did not confuse you with moving from text to the next, but I just wanted to give us the entire story. And I know you all are smart enough to pick sense from nonsense anyway. (smile) 

Now here is some more relevant info from the scholars. On the subject of Palm Sunday itself, they declare: ‘This event is traditionally known as the triumphal entry, when Jesus officially offers Himself to the nation of Israel as her long-awaited Messiah. However, in many ways, it was far from a triumph, for the day ended in Jesus’ public prediction of His rejection by His own people.  

The crowd’s cry of ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,’ echoes words from 2 Sam.14:4 and Psalm 118:25-26. Riding on the colt of an ass marked the official entry of Israel’s kings. Thus Jesus arrives in the full declaration of His kingship.’ 

How very fitting my people! So let’s go out and celebrate and rejoice today nuh, reliving the joy, the splendour and magnitude of that august day so long ago. Much LOVE!

…the king is coming…the king is coming…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 August 2016 Isaiah 35:4.

Isaiah 35:4.    Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense: he will come and save you.

And then it was Friday, the favourite day of the working class! Thus the ringing out of declarations such as this, all over the world. 

‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday! At last that wonderful day is here! The start of the weekend and all the wonderful things we going to do during that time; like feasting, like partying hard…and whatever else comes to mind! Thank God for Fridays and the weekends oui; for this short escape from the new-fangled slavery! At last it’s Friday! Glory Be!’ 

Ah mih people, the weekend is the only li’l free time we have nowadays, so we obviously tend to, or try to pack so many different things into those couple of days off. 

Consequently, we end up giddy and/or weary at the end of it, instead of rested, enthused and rejuvenated for another week of same old, same old. That’s why there has to be balance and circumspection in our weekend actions. 

Now let’s chant our Friday Chant which gives us a better perspective on how to use our weekly free time. Chanting: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. 

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Yes friends, it’s that fine balance of rest, fellowship and partying that we need to make the weekend truly a time of renewal. So let’s just pay better attention to our weekend activities nuh, and make sure we’re getting the essential things we need to glorify God in the new workweek. 

Now here’s an interesting quote from my ‘P.S. I LOVE YOU! Poster.’ It says, ‘We can’t do much about our appearance, but we have total control over the kind of person we become.’ 

Now once upon a time the first part of that quote was oh so true, but now with the advances in plastic surgery and otherwise, it is possible for us to change our appearance if we desperately want to. However, the second part of the quote still holds true; we can totally control the kind of person we become. 

The problem here though, is do we want to accept responsibility for the kind of person we are or have become? In this age of irresponsibility, we just like to blame others for everything that happens to us, while accepting little or no responsibility for our own actions. 

But friends, this is not the way our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ operates in His kingdom. In Jesus’ world, everyone is held responsible and accountable for their own behaviour and actions. So if you’re a believer, you had better smarten up and begin taking responsibility, otherwise you’re liable to pay a substantial price for that irresponsibility. 

Anyway, it’s time to turn to our Bit, that most encouraging and reassuring scripture. ‘Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense: he will come and save you.’ 

And that’s no lie my brethren! Our God has sincerely and faithfully promised to save us and to recompense us for our heartaches and sorrows. What a mighty and wonderful God we serve my fellow believers! 

Now let’s hear some scripture that emphasize that promise. First up is this wonderful passage from Zechariah: ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee: he is just (righteous), and having salvation; lowly (humble), and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Zech.9:9) 

Oh friends, we all know that wonderful promise was fulfilled when Jesus rode triumphantly through the streets of Jerusalem on a donkey, an animal of peace, on Palm Sunday! 

And all God’s people loudly and gratefully declared: ‘All praise and honour and glory be to our great and awesome God for faithfully keeping His promise of the Messiah’s coming!’ 

Now hear Isaiah at the end of the chapter describing salvation for those who trust in God. ‘For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.’ (Is.33:22) 

And for sure he will do that my people! In fact he has already done it by sending Jesus to sacrifice His sinless and holy life to pay for our disgusting sins! Oh glory to God for His goodness and LOVING-kindness to the children of men! 

And we’ll go home to these wondrous and reassuring words of the psalmist, Ethan the Ezrahite from Psalm 89 – God’s sure promises to Bruh David. 

‘Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn (strength) shall be exalted. For the Lord is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.’ (Ps.89:15-18) 

Oh my fellow believers in Christ, please, let’s never forget all of that, for our lives are based on it! Now let’s go forth and rejoice today, knowing that we are made strong and free through the righteousness and sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Much LOVE!

…if you don’t know Jesus…then your life is being wasted…it’s definitely not being fulfilled as it should be…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 March 2016 Philippians 1:29

Philippians 1:29.    For unto you it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

Well friends, all the Good Friday hoopla is finally over. The feast of the Passover is in progress. The Romans and the ruling Jewish class are happy that Jesus the interloper, troublemaker and very possible threat to their power and political status is dead. They are exhaling a big sigh of relief and resting satisfied in the culmination of their most heinous and criminal act; causing Jesus to be crucified on lies and circumstantial evidence. 

Thanks to Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, His lifeless body is now lying in a new tomb sealed by a big rock, with soldiers guarding it, so that there is no chance of any mischief from His rag tag band of followers. 

Meanwhile, in reality, that group of followers have fled hither, thither and yon, fearful for their own lives, because of their association with Jesus. Sincere disappointment also clouds their spirits, because they had had such high hopes for and in their leader. All His great sermons and miracles and wonderful philosophy had fuelled their hearts and minds with dreams of a much better and brighter day. 

But now, in the blink of an eye, after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem some six days earlier, (Palm Sunday) everything  had suddenly been turned topsy-turvy by His sudden betrayal, arrest, mock trial and death on that wooden cross at Calvary. I guess, like any of us mired in a similarly difficult situation, they were wondering what would become of their lives, since they had given up everything to follow Jesus. 

Judas, His betrayer, has gone and hung himself, remorse and guilt having gotten the better of him. Then Peter, who had denied knowing Jesus three times, was tearing out his hair, wondering how he could have done something that stupid and cowardly. Mary, Jesus’ mother, per His dying directive, had gone to live with John, the disciple whom He LOVED. And the once solid band of believers was now in total disarray. 

It had all happened so suddenly that they had all been taken by surprise, although Jesus had tried to warn them of His impending troubles. As they were going up to Jerusalem, to celebrate the Feast of the Passover, Jesus had tried to tell them what was about to happen. 

‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles (Roman rulers): and they shall mock him, and shall scourge (flog) him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.’ (Mark 10:33-34) 

But obviously none of them were paying serious attention to His words. Even the night of the Last Supper, when He informed them that one of the group would betray Him, they still didn’t take it seriously, although they all wondered and asked if it was them. But now things had come to up bump; the Master was dead, and they were like lost, fearful sheep scattered to the four winds, without the LOVE and guidance of their shepherd. 

Yes friends, that was the general state of affairs in Jerusalem, come Saturday morning. I guess it taught that first band of believers a serious lesson; namely that being associated with Jesus could be a dangerous endeavour, entailing suffering and persecution. 

I sincerely hope it has also taught us that too, some two thousand years later, as our Bit details. For unto you it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.’ 

It’s not all wine and roses my people, we ofttimes have to get down and dirty and also suffer some on Jesus behalf. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great life, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other, but like life itself, there are problems and difficulties to encounter, bear and overcome, obviously with Jesus’ help. 

As Bruh Paul declares earlier in the chapter: ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ (Phil.1:21) 

And the scholars tell us: ‘1:21. For explains why Paul is just as happy to magnify the Lord by death as by life (v.20). It is because to him, to live is Christ. He means that living consists of serving and glorifying the Son of God; apart from this, his life has neither meaning nor purpose. 

But why is Paul just as content to magnify Christ by death? Because to him to die is gain; that is even though living and serving God are good, death is a graduation to something better: it is a promotion to the heavenly presence of Christ and perfect fellowship with Him.’ 

Now friends, all of that is perfectly true, but like most of you, I don’t think I’m ready for that heavenly promotion just yet. I still have a lot of serving and magnifying and glorifying to do down here on earth. (smile) 

But seriously though my people, like Bruh Paul, our main objective, whether down here on earth, or in heaven on high should be to seriously magnify Christ. That ought to be our basic desire; whatever we do or say should have God’s glorification as its number ONE objective. 

Yuh see all the really rough times Bruh Paul went through fearlessly for Christ’s sake! And Christ brought him safely through them all! Now most of us won’t have to go through anything like that, but we will meet opposition and even persecution, if we become and behave like serious followers of Christ. 

Now that is the number ONE question: how many of us are willing to go through trials and tribulation in Christ’s service? 

And what better day to ponder and consider that question my people, than on the Saturday between Good Friday, when Christ sacrificed His life on the cross, and Easter Sunday, when He rose triumphantly from the grave? 

Please, let’s all do that today nuh. And hopefully we’ll all come up with the same resounding answer: ‘Yes! We will go to the grave magnifying our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! After what He’s done for us, we can do nothing less!’ 

Now let’s go out and put that promise into action this Easter Saturday nuh, before we have time to think about it and change our minds. (smile) Much LOVE!

…by His stripes we are healed…by His precious blood shed on the cross we are saved…thank You Jesus for salvation…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 March 2016 Zechariah 9:9

Zechariah 9:9.    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just (righteous), and having salvation; lowly (humble), and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Welcome friends to the first day of spring in the North Country, although it’s still pretty chilly outside. (smile) It’s also Sunday my people, which means it’s time to get thee hither to church, to gather with other believers to praise and worship and give thanks and glorify Almighty God and receive His power, strength, energy, wisdom, confidence and enthusiasm to face the upcoming week. 

Now this is not my suggestion, but God’s command: ‘Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day, thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. (Ex.23:12) 

And in modern day Christian society we have chosen Sundays to be our day of rest and worship, and in a convoluting kind of way, also the first day of the week. The important thing though, is that we take off one day a week from our labour and rest and worship the Lord as a group, regardless of which day it might be. 

Now listen to this other scripture about the observance of the Sabbath from the prophet Isaiah. ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the  high places of the earth (the hills), and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob, thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ (Is.58:13-14) 

What more can we ask for re the observance, the celebration of the Sabbath eh my brethren? Nothing at all! The Lord has promised us a joyride if we faithfully observe it. (smile) 

And fortunately, today also happens to be Palm Sunday; that magnificent day of celebration, when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was ushered into Jerusalem in kingly fashion, but on a humble donkey, where the people spread their garments and branches they cut down from trees along the roadway for Him to ride over. 

‘And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.’ (Matt.20:8-9) 

Oh my people what a day of celebration that must have been in ole Jerusalem. Notwithstanding, that a week later the same fickle souls were then fiendishly crying out ‘crucify Him, crucify Him!’ That just shows what a bunch of ingrates and turncoats and hypocrites we are. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. (smile) Today, let’s enjoy the pomp and pageantry that was Palm Sunday, for it will be indeed a fleeting, though rather important moment in time. 

And the breathtaking aspect of the day, is as the Good Book says: ‘And all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy king cometh unto thee, meek (lowly), and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt the foal of an ass.’ (Matt.21:5)  

Oh my people, how wonderful is our God eh, who can foretell stuff centuries and eons before they come to pass! ‘Behold the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.’ (Is.42:9) 

And the Lord did tell us about Palm Sunday long before it happened. The words of our Bit spell it out loud and clear: ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just (righteous), and having salvation; lowly (humble), and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’ 

What an awesome God we serve and worship my people! No other supposed deity has done, or can do those things; only the Almighty and Everlasting God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! 

‘And all God’s people joyfully sang: ‘Praise Him, praise him, Glory Hallelujah, He is LOVE, He is LOVE!’ That He certainly is my people! 

Now here is some info from the scholars. ‘9:9-10. The ass (donkey) was an animal of peace. The kings of the earth come to bring destruction and devastation: Israel’s King comes to bring peace. The prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.’ 

Yes my people, our God is so mighty, majestic, magnificent and magnanimous that I can’t understand how so many of us can fail to appreciate, LOVE, serve and worship Him with all our hearts, minds, bodies and souls nuh! 

He has never lied to us, never led us astray, has proven His great and unconditional LOVE for us unworthy reprobates by sending His only son Jesus to die on the cross so that we could be free, washed clean of our disgusting sins, thus reconciling us to Him, bringing us back into a right relationship with Him, offering us a free gift of grace that leads to salvation and eternal life with the Holy Trinity in heaven till time immemorial! 

What more does He have to do to convince us eh mih breddren? The only thing left is for us to be able to worship the prince of darkness and lust after and enjoy the things of the world and still get to heaven. But I can assure you friends, that’s NEVER going to happen. 

The Lord in His righteousness and holiness and justice could not agree to that. Yuh see the great heartbreaking lengths He went to, to secure our freedom; sacrificing His only Son? Now if it were possible to get into heaven another way than through Jesus sacrifice, don’t you think He would have taken it? 

Anyway, that is all now hypothetical; Jesus was sacrificed to pay for our sins, and He’s the ONLY way to get to heaven. So let’s go out and celebrate, have a wonderful Palm Sunday, sing and praise and joyfully shout ‘Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!’ Much LOVE my fellow believers!

…sing and rejoice…O daughter of Zion…for, lo, I come (am coming)…and I will dwell in the midst of thee…saith the Lord…  (Zech.2:10)

 

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