Today​’s Scrip-Bit 12 April 2019 Proverbs 16:9.

Proverbs 16:9.   A man’s heart deviseth (plans) his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
 

Well at long last it’s Friday, the day we’ve been waiting all week for! Consequently, many spirits are on the rise, just thinking about all the free time and fun time that’s on the horizon. And as I sit writing here at the desk in the Hyatt Regency hotel room, I have a varied set of images to engage my eyes. 

Right out in front of me is a lovely view of the Port of Spain seascape. Up close, the harbour is dotted with what looks like old. cargo ships. But then the expanse of sea extends right to the horizon, revealing different shades of blue under the somewhat cloudy early morning sky. Meanwhile to my left, is the port itself, with a jumble of different types, colours and shapes of ships, and the early morning buildup of the busy Port of Spain traffic down the Wrightson Road artery. 

And the fancy high rise building on my immediate left is the Parliament Building, where our leaders gather to supposedly discuss high matters of state, but too often end up behaving like a bunch of rowdies on the street corner! If that’s the example the supposed leaders set, what else can they expect from their constituents but the same unruly, disorderly behaviour eh? Unfortunately, that seems to be the modus operandi of most elected bodies all over the world! 

Anyway, I don’t have any set plans for the day, so we’ll just play it all by ear. I’m in T&T, so any number can play! (smile) And since it’s Friday, let’s hear what the workingman has to say in his song nuh. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! Another week of back breaking work done, and I have a li’l time to mihself now! And believe me, I’m going to use it well; to eat drink, sleep and party, and make some plans for next weekend, which is Easter weekend! 

Might even go to Tobago, if I could get a ticket, and enjoy the many activities that happen over there at Easter time. Things like goat and crab race, boat races, and parties all over the place. Tobago is the place to go for Easter in these parts. But that is next weekend, still have to enjoy this weekend first…and believe me I’m going to do it, in style and fashion too. Thank God for Fridays and weekends yes, don’t know how I would survive otherwise nuh!’ 

Ah friends, we all would like to let it all hang out like the workingman, but as true believers in Jesus Christ, we have to toe a li’l tighter line, so that the enemy doesn’t have a chance to get inside our souls and work his evil, ungodly business. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun and enjoy ourselves too, just not as leggo beast as the workingman. So let’s chant our Friday Chant to show our thanks for Friday nuh. With strong voice and true sincerity: 

‘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!’ 

Yeh, it’s not as boisterous as the workingman’s song, because we have to play it a li’l closer to the vest, but it’s still thankful and joyful and give us lots of leeway. (smile) Oh, the duchess is ready to go out for breakfast, so I’ll have to stop here for a while. Soon come! 

Well I’m back finally after some hearty local breakfast at the Breakfast Shed, just up the sidewalk from the hotel. It’s a group of about ten small businesses under one broad enclosure serving local food. And the food good, so they doing good business. And most importantly, the duchess enjoyed it, so I’m happy. (smile) 

And today I’ve been led once again to the wise words of Cousin Sol for our Bit. ‘A man’s heart deviseth (plans) his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.’ And is that ever so true my people. As the old people would say, ‘man plan, but God laugh!’ That’s because He knows who is the real guide of our footsteps – He himself! 

As the scholar’s explain: ‘16:9. The Lord is sovereign over man’s scheming and planning.’ No doubt about that friends: the Creator of man is sovereign over him and can disrupt our best laid plans with a simple nod. And Cousin Sol says it this way later on: ‘There are many devices (plans) in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.’ (Prov.19:21) 

And I know that many of us can attest to that, for over the years we’ve made so many plans of our own only to see them sadly jettisoned by the Lord. Now hear how Jeremiah puts it. ‘O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.’ (Jer.10:23) 

And if all of that is true, then we have to come back to Cousin Sol’s words and ruefully ask: ‘Man’s goings (steps) are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?’ (Prov.20:24) He obviously can’t because the Lord is controlling it all, and His ways and thoughts and plans are so much higher than ours. 

But let it be known that our great God never leaves us in a lurch, in a place where we are without hope, thus this great promise of His through the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah. ‘For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you and expected end (a future and a hope).’ (Jer. 29:11) 

How can you beat that promise eh friends? Only possibly with this one from Bruh Paul: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ (Rom.8:28) So friends, please don’t despair when our plans are thwarted by God, for He usually has something better in mind for us, and it will ALWAYS be for our good! Much LOVE!

…God’s promises are never idle…but are meant to lift our spirits…give us hope…and strengthen our faith…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 April 2016 Psalm 46:1

Psalm 46:1.   God is our refuge and strength, a very present help (an abundantly available help) in trouble.

Well friends, it’s Saturday and I’m just biding my time to go up Calder Hall and get some of the revitalizing and refreshing and energizing soup of Brother Kirby. Oh mih people, I can see those three big iron (Dutch) pots sitting on the fire under the tent, just filled with delicious tasting soup. 

One containing pigeon peas, or as my Jamaican family calls it, gungo peas; then the other is bubbling with dasheen bush, and the last with a thick cow foot mixture, just guaranteed to set your palate right. Oh I know some of you will skin up your face at that last one, but truthfully, I believe that the cow foot is the most nourishing of the three kinds of soup. 

So I’m dreaming, so big deal! That’s why the Lord gave us imaginations, and through the eyes of faith I’m seeing myself slurping back some of that nourishing and tasty Tobago soup, not too far in the distant future. Mama Yo! Tobago soup!

Yeh friends, the ole fella misses Tobago; the sunshine, the saltwater, the friends, the family, early morning devotions on the patio as the sun rises and the birds chorus their songs of LOVE, the church going and Bible Study, watching the ferries go back and forth from Scarborough to Port of Spain, not to mention the peaceful calm of the sea just breaking over the reef and washing up on to the rocky shore.  

And I miss it even more, when up here, they are calling for rain and snow today and tomorrow. But what to do eh? Not much but grin and bear it, because this is where the Lord has me currently planted and that means He has work for me to do here. But one day, one day, provided the Lord is in favour, I know it will surely happen.  

Now here is an interesting quote from our friend Anselm, as always inspiring us to aspire to a better tomorrow. This quote says: ‘Somebody came into my office crying. I said, “Look, don’t cry to give up! Cry to keep going!!” Don’t cry to quit! You already in pain, You already hurt! Get a reward from it!’ 

And you know that does make a whole lot of sense my brethren. As Christians we keep talking about the Lord testing us, teaching us useful lessons, putting us on His potter’s wheel and reshaping us, then putting us in the kiln to bake for a while to toughen us up.  

Now that is all painful, but you know what? We need to always learn from our pain. And coincidentally, it’s just in the last few days I heard two preachers say the same thing. We must not waste our pain. What’s the point of bearing the pain if we don’t learn something from it, or as Anselm says: ‘Get a reward from it.’ 

Yes friends, a lot of us are hurting in some form and fashion, and none of us like to be hurting, but it’s an essential part of human life, especially the Christian faith, where we grow stronger and more Christ-like through painful situations. So since we cannot get around the hurt and pain of this mortal life, we might as well embrace it and use it for some useful purpose. 

Just don’t ask me what and how? (smile) I have some here that I don’t understand the whys nor the wherefores, but when I figure it, out I’ll let you know. 

Ah mih people, life just happens to us all, and we can only benefit by using it in a positive manner, and laughing some at our problems, otherwise we’ll go crazy in no time at all. And as Christians we have it better than anybody else, because as our Bit so truthfully and powerfully declares: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help (an abundantly available help) in trouble.’ 

And that is the gospel, the indisputable and irrevocable truth my brethren! Our God is our hiding place and our tower of power! 

Consequently, the sons of Korah continue the psalm thus: ‘Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst (the heart) of the sea: Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.  Selah.’ (Ps.46:2-3)  

Yes my fellow believers, that’s how strong we ought to be, even with earthquakes and tidal waves surrounding us. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible or practical, but it is the pinnacle for which we ought to aim, since the Creator and Controller of the world is our heavenly Father, our refuge and our strength in time of trouble, and furthermore has promised never to leave or forsake us. What better place to put our trust and faith eh? 

Now listen to Bruh David say it in his own inimitable style. ‘My soul, (silently) wait thou only upon God: for expectation (hope) is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved (shaken). In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.  Selah.’ (Ps.62: 5-8)  

Ah friends, there’s not much more that I can add to that. And we all know the painful but faithful life Bruh David lived. Some of his problems were of his own making, but others, like Saul hunting him down like a wild animal, was God’s way of testing him. It took him something like twenty years after he was anointed, to actually become king. 

Likewise, some of our troubles are self inflicted, while others come to try our mettle of faith. And hopefully, like Bruh David, we will have the wherewithal to stand up strong and pass most of the tests, as the Lord desires of us. 

Now let’s close with these awe inspiring words of Moses, as he exhorts the Israelites to obedience. ‘For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh (a God so near) unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?’ (Deut.4:7) 

And the truthful answer to that my brethren is a resounding ‘NO OTHER!’ 

So with all of that godly encouragement and inspiration, please let’s go out today, and every day henceforth, to LOVE and serve our Lord, and do His will with humble pleasure, as Jesus did in His earthly sojourn. It won’t be easy, but with God’s always available help, it’s doable. Much LOVE!

…with the Creator as our refuge and strength…Christians don’t need any other protectors or protection…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 February 2016 Psalm 53:1‏

Psalm 53:1. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

And then it was Tuesday… Yes my people, another brand new day on God’s great earth with all His numerous blessings and mercies brand new, just as the day! Glory Hallelujah!

Isn’t it wonderful to begin each new day from scratch? It surely is! All yesterday’s sins and problems will be washed away and forgiven… as far as the east is from the west, they have been thrown away. So let’s begin on a clean page today nuh; no anxieties, fears, concerns or whatever from yesterday. 

Let’s get up and greet our God with pure hearts and clean hands; confessing all our known sins and weaknesses and prayerfully asking for forgiveness and wise guidance to handle the day’s problems and opportunities. 

And to help us do that, let’s declare our Tuesday Mantra with sincerity and strong belief. All together now: ‘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.’ 

Oh friends, I just LOVE that Mantra! Why? Because it reminds me of who I truly am; a child of God and a friend of Jesus! Glory to God! It doesn’t get any better than that my people. 

So please, if we remember nothing else, let’s remember those two fundamental and foundational truths; as faithful believers, we are all children of God, redeemed by Jesus’ blood shed on the cross, and thus His friend and brother. You can’t beat that my brethren! 

And what do I have to share with you today eh? Not much nuh. I’m a tad under the weather and thus not functioning on all cylinders. (smile) 

Oh yes, I now know what I have to share; my interesting and frustrating activities from last Saturday. We checked out of the hotel in Trinidad shortly after 2 p.m., took a taxi to the ferry docks – definitely no more walking in the hot sun with all that luggage. (smile) 

On that point of interest, when we mentioned our walk down Wrightson Road with our luggage to our friend from south, she unceremoniously declared: ‘They must have thought that you all were two country bookies come to town – walking down the street with so much luggage!’ 

And some very well might have thought so, but that’s neither here nor there now, we’ll just chalk it up to ignorance and experience. (smile) 

So we’re sitting in the waiting area about three o’clock waiting for the ferry’s four o’clock departure. At that time there was some excitement out on the docks, which turned out to be the arrival of the 7 a.m. ferry from Tobago. 

Apparently it had broken down in the middle of the ocean and two tug boats had been sent to tow it into port. Now can you imagine the concern, the anxiety, frustration and anger of those people trapped on it from 7 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. 

Now for the next problem; that was the same ferry that was supposed to take us to Tobago at 4 o’clock. So we all sat there patiently waiting, just hearing rumours of what was going to happen. Four o’clock came and went… and we still heard nothing from the Port Authority people. 

At about 4.45, and announcement was made that they were fixing the problem and hopefully it wouldn’t be too long before we left. 

Time continued on its own sweet way, and we heard nothing else until at approximately six thirty a couple of workers came and said we’d be boarding shortly, Hn! 

And though they said that we’d be boarding by sections, if yuh see how everybody just got up and rushed for the exit door. Ah Lord eh! The herd mentality was surely in evidence there. The policeman amongst the workers had to make a big speech and get everybody to sit back down, then move us section by section. 

The whole problem with the situation was that the authorities provided us with no explanations or updates whatsoever. Some people left and went back home, others had paid for hotels in Tobago and their time was burning up for reasons they couldn’t understand. I was looking at having to pay for another night’s stay at the hotel. 

It just was very terrible customer relations! But I understand that’s how they do it, and apparently the boats break down fairly often. Ah Lord eh, only in T&T you say. 

One more interesting point. The talk had been circulating that if they couldn’t fix the ferry, they would send us back on the one that was due in from Tobago. Now shortly before we boarded, that one appeared on the horizon, but wonder of wonders, it had to stop out in midstream because there was only one dock for the ferries. Apparently both of them could not be in the same port at the same time. 

Again, only in T&T you say! So we never left Port of Spain until around seven p.m., only to be told that the trip would take three and a half hours instead of the usual two and a half, because we were only motoring along on three engines. That meant we didn’t dock in Tobago until minutes to eleven, and I didn’t get home until minutes to twelve, tired and miserable. 

What a travesty of public relations! So that’s how I spent my Saturday afternoon and evening. 

Now finally, let’s see how much we can say about our Bit. ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.’ 

And as we noted yesterday, there are certainly many fools in our time too, too many really! That’s why our world is in such a terrible state. 

As Cousin Sol warns in Proverbs: ‘The fear (reverential awe) of the Lord is the (principal) beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.’  (Prov.1:7) And isn’t that the awful truth! 

Again, it’s why our societies are so corrupt and inefficient! Our leaders figure they know how to run the universe better than the One who created it. Steups! 

Now hear the scholars’ explanation of that verse. ‘1:7. The fear of the Lord means submission to the Lord and His revelation. When one is afraid of something, he either runs from it or submits to it. The latter idea is in view here. It is a healthy fear, like the fear of electricity or the fear of one’s parents, which causes one to act in an appropriate manner. 

The beginning does not mean that “the fear of the Lord” is left behind in the course of acquiring wisdom, but that it is the controlling principle of wisdom.’ 

And on that solid note of wisdom we’ll end today. And as usual, please let’s ponder all that we’ve said, and with God’s help try to improve our Christian walk. Much LOVE!

…each day…with God’s help…we ought to grow in our likeness to Christ…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 February 2016 Nehemiah 8:10c‏‏

Nehemiah 8:10c.    For the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Hello there my faithful brethren, the ole fella’s in Trickidad (Trinidad); in the great metropolis of Port of Spain, the island’s capital! Glory to God! 

I came down by the ferry yesterday afternoon, a smooth two and a half hours’ trip, to see some friends and family I haven’t seen in ages. The last two years I’ve been here, I never really visited, just changed planes at Piarco airport to Tobago, and changed planes on the way back to Canada. 

I’m staying at a hotel right overlooking the water front, not far from the ferry dock. This foolishly led me to ask a chap there yesterday if I could walk to the hotel. ‘Oh yes!’ he declared. ‘It’s just a small walk to the Radisson,’ pointing out the building in the foreground. 

And having walked from the hotel to the ferry docks when I was here the first time, some four years ago, I knew it wasn’t that long. But back then I didn’t have a heavy bag in one hand and a suitcase in the other, neither was the sun as hot. 

So see me and the duchess walking down Wrightson Road in the busy four o’clock traffic, pulling our suitcases along a rough sidewalk, then having to cross over the busy road to get to the hotel. Hn! I just chalked it up to being my daily exercise. But never again! That’s all I have to say. (smile) 

The hotel is comfortable, not as big or as expensive as the Hyatt across the street. One of its more endearing features is the revolving restaurant at the top. We had dinner up there last night. The food was good, and while dining we spun a whole 360 degrees, which allowed a wonderful view of Port of Spain and its environs brightly lit up in the clear night sky. 

Today we’re thinking about taking a water taxi to San Fernando, the big city in the southern part of the island, but we’re not sure of that just yet. And as I look out my eleventh floor window in the early morning, I can see people already moving about, and that Wrightson Road is also fairly busy. 

But on a more important note, how many of you noticed the nonsense I did yesterday eh? Ah Lord eh! Lucifer must have been really playing games with my mind, for in all three headings I had the Bit listed as ‘Nehemiah 10c.’ Now what is that eh? Only the Lord alone knows. 

And in editing the Bit, I usually read it at least three times before sending it out. Steups! I don’t know what happened to me yesterday, if I was just rushing to get it done so I could get to the ferry on time or what. And sadly, it’s only this morning when I looked at it again, something clicked in my ole brain and I realized the mistake. Chuh! It just annoyed me, because I dislike making such fundamental mistakes. 

Anyway, yesterday is history, today’s a brand new day, filled anew with our wonderful God’s brand new mercies and compassions. As the prophet Jeremiah wisely and truthfully says in his Lamentations: ‘They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’ (Lam.3:23) Glory be! So I’ll forget about that mistake, and just hope I don’t make any more such glaring errors. (smile) 

Now let’s continue with our Bit: ‘For the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ And indeed it is, for without His peace and grace and LOVE steadfastly in our hearts, we’ll not have any long lasting strength to withstand the numerous wiles and lies of the enemy. 

So yesterday we saw where Ezra, the priest began reading the law of Moses to the people. ‘And he read therein before the street (plaza) that was before the water gate from the morning (it was light) until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.’ (Neh.8:3) 

Oh my people, I just wish that statement could be made about us when we go to church or anywhere that the Lord’s Word is spoken. So often, so many of us are guilty of not paying attention to the reading of the Word, both aloud in church and in our own daily devotions. 

But yuh know friends, when we don’t pay proper attention, we’re not doing God anything nuh, because He already knows the Word, for He wrote it. But we are doing ourselves a great injustice when we don’t concentrate and meditate on it, because it’s His guideline for our successful earthly living. 

But moving on: ‘And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit (platform) of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah etc.…  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up; and Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. 

And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up of their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua etc… and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law; so the people stood in their place. 

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense (expounded the meaning), and caused them to understand the reading.’ (Neh.8:4-8) 

Now there were others there explaining and interpreting the Word to the people, most of whom were hearing the actual reading of the Word for the very first time in their lives. 

And the scholars offer this footnote. ‘8:7-8. In verse 7 the men gave the sense of the law (caused the people to understand) and then in verse 8 translated or read…distinctly from the Hebrew into Aramaic, the only language some of the people may have understood (cf. 13:24; Ezra 4:18). This would be the first mention of what developed as the Targums, or oral paraphrases of the Law, which were later written down.’ 

Now isn’t that behaviour of the olden people, very contradictory to ours when we hear the Word being read? It surely is, possibly because we’ve heard it a thousand times before, so we don’t pay particular attention. We allow the worldly saying that familiarity breeds contempt to seep into our souls. 

But that’s not right friends, we all should be as familiar and attentive to the Good Book as we possibly can, because that’s where our guidelines for living are ensconced. 

Now today, let’s ponder our personal familiarity with, and attentiveness to God’s Word, and with His help, try to improve it nuh. For that is indeed the wisdom of heaven! Much LOVE!

…if you don’t read and study the Guidebook of life…how will you know the guidelines for living…how to live life eh…

P.S.  I fixed the Scrip-Bit Blog from yesterday, so it’s perfect now. (smile) Much LOVE!