Today’s Scrip-Bit   30 July 2022 Romans 8:31.

Romans 8:31.      What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Well, well, well…if it isn’t lazy Saturday! But let me tell you a li’l ‘secrat’ (smile) as my young daughter said when she was small. I think it’s more tired Saturday than lazy Saturday oui! That’s because I never got home from the Pan Festival until 2.30 in the morning. What an example of very poor planning and communications! The show, and by the way it turned out to be just a showcase of Pan talent, not the usual competition. Anyway, the doors were scheduled to open at six o’clock and the show begin at seven. Hn! 

Now we all know that our West Indian reference to time is poor, but this one took the cake. The doors didn’t open until after seven, and the show didn’t begin until nine. And with nine bands to play two songs each, they had to skip the intermission. Can you imagine loud pan music, in particular Afro-Pan, blasting in the heart of ole Toronto after one in the morning. They must have friends in City Hall and Police Headquarters yes. (smile). But despite all the poor management, we did hear some good pan. 

The pansides were small though and with many junior members, possibly because of the pandemic and lack of time to rehearse properly. But the reigning champions Pan Fantasy, brought their big side and their ‘A game and blew them away again! That alone was worth going to see. Enough on pan now though, let’s hope next year we’ll get back to the competition format, for that really brings out the best in all of us. 

So, finally, let’s see what interesting quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And this first one tells it true. ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’ Oh, it’s always best to begin right where you are and do what you can with what you have. Wishing and hoping for better things and times won’t make it so. The important thing is to get some action going, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem. 

And to drive the point further home, let’s think about how our heavenly Father takes us, and begins with us, right where we are, even when we are at rock bottom. Yes friends, He reaches down, stoops down and gathers us up and begins molding us into the perfect image of His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ right there. He doesn’t wait for us to improve before He takes us in. Likewise, it’s best for us to always begin right where we are, and do something useful with whatever we have. 

And if you sincerely believe in Him, and ask for His help, you’ll be amazed at what that small, insignificant beginning could become with His hands on your shoulders and His Spirit in you. That brings us to the next quote: ‘The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.’ Oh my people, with Almighty God on our side, that question is immaterial, for NO ONE is going to stop us when God is rooting for us! As Bruh Paul so emphatically wrote to the church at Rome. ‘What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?’ (Rom. 8:31) 

Not a single soul! And that’s the living truth! Because, as Bruh Paul further proclaims: ‘Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us.’ (Rom. 8:37) Wow mih bredrin! There’s no greater encouragement possible than simply knowing that Jehovah God is on our side, in league with us. As they say: You and God are a majority! And there’s no disputing that. With the most powerful force in the universe on your side, anything is possible. 

That leads us to this quote: ‘If you continue to think the way you’ve always thought, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.’ Now that’s ever so true! You can’t keep thinking the same way and expect to get different results. As the old people would say; You can’t plant peas and expect to reap corn. It’s simple, you reap what you sow and nothing else. So, if you want to get better results, you have to change your thinking because it all begins and ends in the mind, the battlefield of our souls. It’s where all the arguments are made and the decisions formed. 

Therefore, to get positive results you must have a positive mindset, and there’s no better positivity than that that can be gained from Christianity, from the Master of Positivity, Christ Jesus! He wrote the book on the subject, the Bible, where all things are possible if you believe in Him. He said it quite plainly to the father of the boy with epileptic seizures. ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.’ (Mark 9:23) And that’s the major problem we are having in our world today; not enough sincere and serious belief in Christ Jesus. That’s why our world is falling apart, one brick at a time. 

Oh, we are all waiting for things to change. But when are they going to change and how eh? We have to change them and the sooner the better. That’s why this next quote is so important to us today. ‘Don’t wait for your feelings to change to take the action. Take the action and your feelings will change.’ That’s right! Feelings are flimsy and unreliable, they can change in a moment’s notice without any good reason. So we can’t depend on them to bring us around to whatever action we desire to happen or accomplish, we need to get into the action first, and when we do, then feelings will follow. 

Yes my people, too many of us are currently living by our feelings, and our feelings are letting us down because of all the sadness, strife and disaster that’s surrounding us. But when we put our trust in Jesus, feelings fly out the window, because we now have a solid, rocklike foundation on which to build, to grow our lives, not fleeting, unreliable feelings. Jesus is the most reliable foundation in the world. Now, I can tell you that until I’m blue in the face (smile) but you’ll never know it for sure, until YOU begin to build on Him. 

Oh friends, it’s all about a personal relationship with Jesus! Yes, you can tell your family and friends about Him, but until they get personal with Him, it won’t matter at all. That brings us to this last quote: ‘Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.’ Words of awesome wisdom my fellow believers. That’s exactly what Jesus did on His earthly sojourn, for everything was stacked against Him, but He persevered in the face of rejection, of tribulation and disbelief, even to the point of death. As the Good Book says: ‘And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself , and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Phil. 2:8) 

Yes, my fellow saints, Christ came to earth to do a job, and He did not allow anything or anyone to stand in His way of accomplishing the Father’s will and purpose. Likewise, we ought not to allow anything or anyone to stand in our way of doing the Father’s will for our lives. We must always put our best foot forward, even when it seems like the whole world is against us. But, please, let’s remember that working for Jesus will always bring some rejection and hardship, but perseverance in His name, will always bring us out on the winning side! So, as His earthly ambassadors, let’s sincerely commit to stand our ground and do His bidding with diligence, excellence, perseverance and true belief! Much LOVE!

…life was not meant to be a bed of roses…for even roses have thorns…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 July 2016 Revelation 1:18.

Revelation 1:18.     I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.

Well friends, it’s Saturday; Caribana Saturday in the big T.O! Mama Yo! (smile)

Although it’s now officially known as something like Toronto Caribbean Carnival, brought on by all the litigation and controversy over the name in the last few years. But in most people’s minds it will always be Caribana. 

Anyway, just like a rose by any other name is still as sweet, likewise Caribana by any other name still is a big festival. And you can imagine the city is hopping with all the functions slated for this long holiday Civic weekend. 

Well to cut a long story short, I did my hopping last night at the Pan Alive Steelband Competition. Unfortunately, over the last couple of years that has been my sole Caribana venture, because the big parade on Saturdays is more than I can physically handle, I can’t party like I used to. Chuh! (smile) 

And in any case what passes for mas down there doesn’t thrill me any more. But I’m not complaining. I had a good time at the pan competition, as I usually do. But also, as any of you who has ever been to a pan competition will know, there’s always controversy over the judges decision. 

And there certainly was some of that last night as the judges’ declared Pan Fantasy the winners for the fifth consecutive time. Steups! Now they might have deserved the accolade over the last couple years, but definitely not last night in the minds of most people. 

They looked good and their playing wasn’t bad, but it lacked the little something that makes a winner. A couple of bands like Silhouettes and Afro Pan sounded better. I’m not a big Afro Pan fan, but last night they played well and should have beaten out Pan Fantasy, instead of taking second place. 

One good thing though, this year there were fewer bands than normal, ten, and the Competition was better organized and was more of a show, with one pan side on stage at a time, and the judges no longer moving around. It also began on time and finished before midnight as the city dictated. 

Our own Calypso Monarch, Macoumeh Fifi, as well as a one pan side (one pan in each category) called Pan Elite from Arima in T&T performed during the intermission and after the bands performed. So some kudos go out to the organizing committee. And that’s that for Caribana…

Oh, except to send out Granny’s advice: ‘Sonny boy, please, ah beg yuh, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business!’ Yes friends, we definitely have to be on our p’s and q’s during these big festivals as the enemy excitedly comes out on the prowl, looking for spirits and souls to invade with his evil power. And we definitely can’t allow him to do that. So please be careful this Caribana long weekend. 

Now here are a couple of quotes from our friend Anselm, who always aspires to inspire us. The first one says: ‘It’s better to have a stiff neck from aiming too high than to have a stiff back from aiming too low.’ 

And that is quite true, especially for Christians, since our Leader, our Lord and Saviour expects excellence from all His followers. His is a not necessarily a high intellect organization, as you can see from some of the people He originally chose as His disciples, and the ole crooks and scamps the Lord used to do His bidding in the Old Testament. 

But you’ll certainly notice that all His choices were high performance and achievement oriented. They did great things through the Lord’s help, even though they came from lowly backgrounds. The Lord takes pleasure in using the world’s castoffs and nonentities to confound the powers that be. 

And the second quote declares: ‘No one can make you jealous, angry, vengeful, or greedy — unless you let them.’ And that’s the gospel truth my people! 

Technically speaking, no one has that sort of power over us, unless we allow them to. So when we say that so and so made us angry, or jealous, or whatever negative sentiment we choose to display, it’s technically incorrect. In truth, we are the ones allowing them to make us whatever. 

It’s the same thing when we declare that the devil made us do something. Of a fact, the devil has absolutely no power over us unless we allow him to. Remember our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ defeated hell, death and the grave, Lucifer’s dominions, when He died, and rose from the grave on the third day. So please, let’s stop allowing people to have such power over us, because it detracts substantially from our witness for Christ. 

And that brings us finally to our Bit. ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.’ 

That says it all my fellow believers! Our Leader Jesus has conquered the forces of evil, which means there is nothing that we need be afraid of from the enemy, because in reality he is like a toothless dog, just barking his foolish head off, with no real power to bite or harm us. Whatever he does to us, is what we allow him to do. 

Yuh don’t see, even when Beelzebub wanted to harm Job, he had to first go to Almighty God for permission. (Job 1:6-12) The same applies to us today my brethren; whatever happens to us, the Lord allows for reasons He alone understands. But the evil one can’t just get up and hurt us because he feels like. 

And we’ll end with these awesome words of Jesus as He says to John after our Bit. ‘Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be (take place) hereafter;’ (Rev.1:19) 

And according to the scholars: 1:19. This is the key verse of the book. Revelation has three major sections: (1) the things which thou hast seen – chapter 1, especially the vision of Christ (c.f. v.11 – “what thou seest”); (2) the things which are – chapters 2 and 3, the conditions in the churches; and (3) the things which shall be hereafter – chapters 4-22, beginning with the judgements of the Tribulation period (cf. 7:1 –“after these things”).’ 

Yes friends, there’s a whole lot to come, and we’ll be wise to be on Jesus ‘s side, for He is indeed the Mighty Conqueror! Much LOVE!

…only fools will bypass the wonders of Jesus…to join the hapless band in Hades… 

P.S. I know it’s long and late, but you have to cut the ole fella some slack as this is Caribana weekend. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 August 2015 Matthew 5:14‏‏

Matthew 5:14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Oh Friends, our God is a good God! Please don’t ever doubt that. Once you deal with Him decently, He will return the favour.

As you know, yesterday I suddenly ended up with this painful knee, which made walking somewhat difficult, to put it mildly. But then I wanted to go to the Pan Alive Steelband competition last night, which entailed some walking and climbing steps.

All day I agonized over the situation, because the Pan competition is the only Caribana festivity that I go to these days. However the Lord in His mysterious workings made the decision for me.

Around four thirty in the afternoon I got a phone call from my Auntie Anne and Uncle John saying that they were in town and would be at the Pan Alive. Well obviously I had to get up and get a move on. I couldn’t let them come to town and not see them.

So the Duchess bandaged up my knee and off I went. And believe me, the Lord in His goodness didn’t allow the knee to bother me too much. With the help of my trusty cane, which I hadn’t used in ages, we made the walk to the stadium and climbed the steps almost to the top to get a birds eye view.

And was the party ever good my brethren. The pan was sweet and the people around me; about 8 women and three men were a riot. We carried on all evening, through the cloudy periods, as well as when the sun shone brightly.

The interesting part is that I sat down to listen to the bands, but got up during the breaks, and that’s when the knee would ache some. But surprisingly, I danced it off without a problem. (smile)  Like standing up and moving made it feel better. Sitting down just caused it stiffen up.

Now if you know anything about Steelband competitions, you’ll know that there are always arguments, some very heated ones too. But our group wasn’t bad because they were all Panatics fans. Anyway the evening progressed quite nicely, until around 10.45 when the rain began to fall seriously.

It had drizzled a couple times before, but nothing to worry about. This shower though emptied the stands, except for a few hardy folks like myself. Well I had come prepared with my old jeans hat and my jacket, and I knew that if I ever came down those stairs I wasn’t going back up, I would probably have just left and come home.

But that wouldn’t have been wise because the band that was about to play, the second to last band was the reigning three time champions Pan Fantasy, and they were going to play my favourite kaiso for this year, Lucy by Destra.

The good thing is that while the rain fell, the riddim section of Pan Fantasy began pounding out a scintillating riddim and we all just stood up in the rain rocking to it. I even put down my trusty cane and rocked on my own. Wow! Glory to God!

The rain must have lasted for about half an hour, but the proceedings didn’t begin again until around 11.30. And believe me Friends, the wait and the rain were worth it, for Pan Fantasy put on a brilliant performance, they really mash it up, and the entire audience was in agreement that they should now be crowned champions for the fourth straight year.

Don’t know if that happened though, because I left during the playing of the last band, Afro Pan, which wasn’t as strong and powerful as they usually are. I didn’t get home until after one in the morning.

The only disappointment of the evening was that I didn’t see my Aunty Anne and Uncle John. I guess they didn’t come after all, because they would have surely seen me partying up at the back of the stadium. Got to find out what happened to them.

Anyway friends, the moral of the story, is that though the Lord places obstacles in our way, He WILL still enable us to enjoy ourselves once our hearts are right; such is His great favour and untold mercy to those who do try to do His will.

Now let’s see if we have time and space for our Bit after all my raving. (smile) ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’

And believe me Friends, the ole fella was indeed a bright and shining light in this darkened world yesterday evening, and the flavour of my salt was certainly strong and useful! (smile) I just spread peace, LOVE and goodwill all around. Glory to God!

Oh, and to tell how good the Lord was to me, as I was walking to the ticket window, a guy came up to me sold me a ticket for 20 instead of the official 30 dollars. So how can I complain eh?

That brings us to this statement of Jesus re John the Baptist. ‘He was a burning and a shining light (lamp); and ye were willing for a season (a time) to rejoice in his light.’ (John 5:35) Now why were they only willing for a season, for a short time to bask in the light of John the Baptist eh?

Jesus spells it out earlier. ‘And this is the condemnation, that light (The Light) is come into the world, and men LOVED darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.’ (John 3:19) 

And that’s still gospel truth to this day Friends! Possibly even truer in today’s rather evil and ungodly world. We LOVE the darkness because of all the evil stuff that’s running through us, and if we ever came to the light, our true selves and deeds would be laid bare for all to see and we’d no longer have the camouflage of darkness to hide who and what we truly are.

And Jesus continues: ‘For every one that doeth (practices) evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (exposed). But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.’ (Matt.3:20-21)

Oh my people, these sad and distressful times call for true faith and bravery on our part. None of us is perfect, we all have hidden deeds of which we are ashamed, but we are guaranteed absolution and forgiveness through the redemptive blood of Jesus.

So please let’s be wise and brave nuh, and bring all our evil deeds to Him in repentance, so that He can cleanse and heal us and bring us safely and LOVINGLY through to the light, His blessed light, where we can then flourish in His goodness, having His salt and light about us to do godly work instead of evil. That’s the wisdom of the ages! Much LOVE!

…living in the truth and light of Jesus…is much wiser…more wholesome and refreshing…than living in the evil darkness of Beelzebub…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 August 2013 Matthew 8:26

Matthew 8:26.   And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea: and there was a great calm.
 
Oh Friends, it’s Saturday, the day of the big Caribana Parade! Or to give it its right name, the Scotia Bank Caribbean Carnival Parade. And I chuckle to see how the parade no longer matters to me.
 
And if you knew me earlier on, you would chuckle too, because once upon a time, the parade was the ONLY thing that mattered to me. I couldn’t care less about the other activities. My only concern was to meet up with my buddies in the city and behave like ‘leggo-beast,’ make a fool of myself. I do that normally now. (smile)
 
The duchess would complain, because those days she never went to the parade and I would come home dog tired and otherwise, just wanting to rest and recuperate, while she then wanted to go out and party. Now she’s the one that goes to the parade with her friends and comes home late and tired. Life certainly has a way of turning around, when we least expect it yes.
 
But this will be the third or fourth parade that I’m missing, and it doesn’t rankle my soul that much, because I know my knees can’t handle the strain any longer, and I did do a lot of walking and prancing in my time. Not to mention in the last few years I stopped seeing the people I used to party with, and the parade itself, the tenor of the celebrations, plus the quality of the mas no longer appealed to me.
 
But I did check out the Pan Alive competition last night, the only aspect that I pay any attention to now. And I almost didn’t go, because shortly after five, as I was about to get ready, a wicked thunderstorm lashed my area. And it didn’t clear up until after seven, so I was there hemming and hawing about going.
 
But fortunately, the Spirit moved me to go. So I got myself together and went. Thankfully, by then the traffic had eased off, so I got down there about 8.30, only missing the first three bands. And since there were fourteen scheduled to perform, I didn’t miss much. 
 
Only thirteen actually performed though, because one pan side dropped out, due to the death of one of their members. How sad eh. Let’s pray that they find faith and strength in Jesus to hold up under their time of sorrow. The rain behaved quite well too, for we only had a couple of drizzles, then it held off after about ten o’clock.
 
And the pan was nice, mih Uncle John! The sound system was nice and clean, and the pannists – no longer pan men – were excellent themselves. And as usual, it warmed the cockles of my heart to see the many young people, of different colours, creeds and races, beating pan. For as you would know better than most, pan has certainly come a long way. I told one young lady there about the lowly beginnings of pan and its social stigma, and she was most surprised to hear it.
 
But Friends, our God is a great and wonderful God, operating in ways we can’t even pretend to understand. Just as He allowed His Son Jesus to be born in a lowly and humble environment, a lot of His blessed undertakings start in lowly turmoil and eventually graduate to great things. Pan is definitely one of those undertakings. 
 
Anyway, the competition didn’t finish until after midnight, and by the time the winners were announced, it was minutes to one. Pan Fantasy repeated as winners of the competition, with Afro Pan coming second, and a tie for third place, but I don’t remember the names of those bands.
 
And obviously there was controversy over the results. But that’s nothing new, for I believe that there’s no other competition that causes as much controversy, regardless of who wins, as in Pan competitions.
 
So my brethren, with that time frame in mind, I didn’t get home until minutes to two this morning, and I had to grab some shut-eye, thus the lateness of the Bit. And I guess that wraps up my Caribana ‘particpaction!’
 
Hn, hn! The old people were right as usual, when they said that after one time is usually too yes. But the good thing is that it doesn’t rankle my soul now, though it did a little in the first couple of years. I’ve come to terms with it. Thank you Lord.
 
And let’s pray that there are no serious, untoward events at the parade, because you know how the powers that be can carry on over any incident, large or small, quick to threaten to ban it. But you can’t have almost a million people congregating in an area less than a mile long, and have no problems whatsoever. That’s very unrealistic.
 
Now turning to our Bit: ‘And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea: and there was a great calm.’
 
Oh my brethren, those rebuking words of Jesus apply to us even more today than they did to the disciples of Jesus’ time. That’s because we’re even more scared and concerned about our lives and the way our society is plummeting down to the depths of sinfulness and evil.
 
The disciples had been with Jesus for a while, had seen Him do several miracles, but deep down they didn’t believe, were still unconvinced that He was the Son of God, the Messiah. And thus they only considered the situation in human terms.
 
With the wind and sea so wild and frightful, and the boat doing such a crazy dance on the water, any normal man would have awakened and checked out the scene. But in the heat of their excitement and fear, they forgot that Jesus wasn’t a normal man. I guess there was some disappointment on Jesus’ part, since by then He no doubt expected them to have more faith in Him.
 
However, we can’t look down on the disciples, for their fear and lack of faith, because today we are doing the same thing. We have also seen and experienced many signs and wonders of Jesus’ LOVE and faithfulness, but when the forces of the world, of evil and darkness come against us, we still tend to cringe and get overly scared.
 
But please remember Friends, that our God created the universe and all therein, and still controls ALL that happens in it. So if He tells us: ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,’ (John 16:33b) then why should we doubt and not believe eh?
 
That’s where our level of faith, trust and surrender to God comes in. Now there’s nothing wrong with being afraid at times, but with all God’s promises, plus Jesus’ death, resurrection and the promise of salvation and eternal life they bring, and all the other good things that believers enjoy, we should not become so scared that we panic and thus make wrong or unwise decisions.
 
The level of our faith will dictate the level of our fear. That’s why we all need to raise the levels of our faith my people! For it is that sense of trust in our heavenly Father that keeps us truly grounded and able to not only survive, but also prosper in these ungodly and wicked times. 
 
And I won’t quote you any set of scriptures, but today I want us to read Hebrews Chapter 11, often called the Faith Chapter, where we’ll find a long list of people who found and applied faith to their lives and were renowned for it.
 
Now please don’t think you’re doing me a favour by reading it, because you’re not. I’m going to read it and hopefully build my level of faith. You’re reading it for your own good, to develop your trust and faith.
 
For remember, regardless of how much you listen to the Word, you’ll never truly understand it until YOU read, mark, meditate on and inwardly digest it. If you don’t, then you’ll be easily fooled and made afraid by what any, Tom, Dick and Harry tells you.
 
So we’ll end here and let you go and read Hebrews 11, for that’s today’s wisdom. Much LOVE!
 
…no one can build our faith but us…and to do that…personally knowing the Word is a must…