Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 March 2020 Psalm 107:6.

Psalm 107:6.    Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.
 
So it’s a new day…in a new week, and the war continues between the Coronavirus and mankind. And sadly, right now the virus seems to be holding the upper hand because mankind never expected this war, and thus were not prepared for it. But there’s one thing I know, that Jehovah God made His greatest creation strong, tough and resilient, with the attitude of never giving up, of being able to rebound even from a fight which they never expected and thus were ill prepared for. Thus I can safely say that though the virus is winning the battle right now, it WILL NOT, I repeat, it WILL NOT win the overall war! 

And why is that? Because with God’s help, we WILL produce an antidote for it, and we WILL be the eventual winners, although by then, our world might have been severely ravaged by the enemy virus!  But undoubtedly, then we will rebuild and come back even stronger than we were before, having learned valuable lessons from this lack of foresight. Yes friends, that’s the belief we Christians need to foster in these sad and trying times, for despite all our difficulties, as believers, we must always remain hopeful and faithful. 

That’s because we have been made in the spiritual image of the Most High God Jehovah, and have not been imbued with a spirit of fear, but one of mighty courage through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the unmatchable attribute of LOVE, plus a sound and disciplined mind. Consequently, we won’t run from any fight, because we have all the tools to win any battle… with the Lord on our side. For remember the battle is the Lord’s, the eventual outcome is always in His hands. But with the very sinful and disobedient state of our current world, it is difficult to picture the Lord being on our side right now. 

Oh yes, He still LOVES us, that won’t ever change, but fighting for us in this our time of serious need is another matter. But my people, we have so many examples of Israel’s disobedience and subsequent punishment, then eventual repentance and return to God’s favour and grace that I strongly suggest right now is such a time for us. Oh my faithful brethren, if this isn’t the time for serious repentance, I don’t know when it will ever come nuh. Right now, we’re like the Israelites, wandering aimlessly in the desert. 

As the psalmist says: ‘They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary (desolate) way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.’ (Ps.107:4-7) Oh friends, right now this virus is running us ragged, our souls are sore afraid, we’re dropping like flies stuck in honey, and many of us don’t know which way to turn. 

But we, the faithful, do know where to turn, to our great God and Father in heaven. It’s a no-brainer, but it does call for sincere repentance. We can’t continue being stubbornly sinful and pigheaded and expect Him to help us. As Asaph says in Psalm 50 – God is the judge – and He certainly is; though we seem to keep forgetting that most salient fact. ‘Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ (Ps. 50:14-15) 

It couldn’t be any clearer than that my people! Pay the vows we promised; in other words, sincerely repent and begin doing the things we should have been doing all along, and when trouble comes, like now, we can call out to Him in strong confidence, knowing that He will hear us and alleviate our problems. But yuh know what, some of us are so stubborn and foolish, we will refuse to turn to God, our Creator, and the most omnipotent Being in the universe, and instead choose to wait on man to find a solution to our problems. 

Hn! Man; whose life is short and worthless like a vapour, and whose power, the li’l he has, comes from the same Almighty Creator. And friends, this can’t afford to be insincere repentance nuh, because if the Lord doesn’t intervene on our behalf soon, the virus going to tear us up and spit us out like chawing tobacco. Yuh see the sad state Italy is in, and also the mighty U.S. of A; whose claim to fame as the greatest power ever on the face of the earth was said to be because of God’s wonderful favour and grace. But unfortunately, instead of staying aligned with God’s purpose, it has now become the standard bearer for sin and ungodliness. 

One time when Israel’s repentance was insincere, hear the Lord’s comment through Hosea. ‘I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge (confess) their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early (diligently).’ (Hos.5:15) Oh friends, it is of the utmost importance that we diligently seek the Lord’s face RIGHT NOW! So please join me in a sincere prayer of thanksgiving, repentance and a soulful cry for help. 

‘Heavenly Father, we come to you on bended knees, in humble adoration, giving you thanks for keeping us alive this Monday morning. We know that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we also know that you are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we humbly come to you now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading for assistance in stopping this Coronavirus that’s wreaking havoc all over our world. 

Gracious Lord, we don’t know how to handle it, but with Your remarkable help, we know that we can stop, can successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth. So Father, we ask that you graciously and mercifully grant our leaders, scientists, and medical personnel wise guidance and direction, so that they can lead us aright and develop a sure antidote as soon as possible. 

In closing Lord, we ask that You keep the promise in Your Word, that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. That’s what we’re pledging to do now Lord. So please show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Now my fellow believers, let’s go out and do our part nuh, so that the Lord won’t have any excuse not to do His. Much LOVE!

…if a disastrous situation like this…doesn’t bring true repentance…then who knows what will eh…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 February 2020 1 Peter 2:2.

1 Peter 2:2.    ​As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
 

Another Monday friends… Yes, one more in the long line of Mondays lined up for us to go through in our work experience! And hopefully some of us might eventually wise up and realize that it doesn’t make sense to go through the Monday morning blues every week, and thus find ways to minimize the weekly frustrations and consequently decrease our stress levels and add a modicum of happiness to our lives. (smile) That’s the basic hope of our Monday offering. 

But sadly, for whatever reason(s), not all of us will be able to do that, which means we will always have need for our Monday Morning Battle hymn to help us get our Monday fix of spiritual adrenaline from heaven on high, through the Holy Spirit. Now that’s not a bad thing, but with age and experience, we’re expected to achieve spiritual maturity, meaning our food types ought to improve too, move from soft, baby food, to adult stuff, like meat and spuds. (smile) 

But my people, what the Lord desires more than anything else is that we come to Him, in whatever state we’re in, humbly and sincerely when we need help, regardless of whether we’re still eating baby food when by age and Christian experience, we should be eating solid stuff. (smile) So let’s come before Him now nuh, humbly and sincerely crying out for help, but confidently expecting Him to help, because that’s His awesome promise, and He keeps His promises. 

Altogether 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!’ 

And our God is so wonderful, that the answer is on the way before we’ve even finished our supplication! Wow! Give Him some thanks and praise my fellow believers (steups!) for being such and awesome and compassionate Deity! Just look at how we’re all energized and smiling, how our attitudes have suddenly changed, and now we’re excited to go out and work for Jesus! That’s the power of the Holy Spirit friends doing the Father’s timely bidding! 

And today friends, we want to talk about spiritual immaturity, the fact that we ought to grow in our Christian faith and move on from Christianity 101 to higher grades and not have to keep repeating the elementary aspects of our faith. There are several scriptures in the Good Book that deal with the subject, a few of which we want to share, beginning with Peter’s admonishment: ‘Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.’ (1 Pet. 2:1-2) 

Yuh see that friends, young Christians, like babies need milk to grow, they too need to learn the elementary aspects of God’s Word. But unfortunately, many of us don’t grow spiritually, we remain carnal, doing the things that Peter advises against. Thus Bruh Paul also had to admonish the Corinthians. 

‘And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat (solid food); for hitherto (until now) ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions (dissensions), are ye not carnal (fleshly), and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?’ (1 Cor.3:1-4) 

Of course they are, since spiritually minded believers (steups!) don’t fight about who converted or baptized them, because it’s team work. As Bruh Paul says two verses later: ‘I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.’ (1 Cor. 3:6) Yeh friends, whatever work we do for God, in the long run, it’s He who causes our work to bear fruit. Let’s remember that and stop arguing amongst ourselves as to who’s doing better than the other, because that only causes strife and disunity and destroys our witness. 

Unfortunately, the continual warfare between the flesh and the spirit is a human trait that still exists, and is still causing disunity and division in Christ’s church today. As it was embarrassing to Bruh Paul with the Corinthians, so it is embarrassing today to see people who should know better, because of their long walk as Christians, still fighting and envying over petty stuff. And the scholars tell us that the flesh and spirit warfare was a big part of Bruh Paul’s writings, (cf.  Rom.7:14-8:13; Gal.5:17). Please check out those scriptures, for they are very important and enlightening. (smile) 

And the author of Hebrews didn’t pull any punches, but put it all in a direct manner. In his appeal to believe, he writes: ‘Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered (explained), seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time (by this time) ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles (sayings) of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat (solid food). 

For every one that useth (partakes of) milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat (solid food) belongeth to them that are of full age (mature), even those who by reason of use (practice) have their senses exercised  (trained) to discern both good and evil.’ (Heb. 5:11-14) 

Ah mih people, too many of us are still drinking milk when we should be eating solid food, and it’s only causing serious problems in our church and our world. Please, for Christ’s sake, and with the Lord’s help, let’s try and do better nuh. Much LOVE!

…there is too much warfare…between too many immature believers (yeah!)…in Christ’s church…  
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 September 2019 1 Samuel 16:7.

1 Samuel 16:7.    ​But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused (rejected) him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
 

Aloha people! It’s Monday, that means it’s time to rise and shine and join the battle lines where Jesus awaits us! Like any good Field General, He’s the first one at the front surveying and reconnoitering the situation, so He can draw up good battle plans to ensure our victory. Remember, without good, solid, wise plans victory is never possible. 

Consequently, we His soldiers also ought to have good, wise battle plans for our day. And the first one is to arise with enthusiasm, to greet the new day full of vim and vinegar, giving our Lord thanks and praise for allowing us to see another day! Oh, I know that’s not possible for all of us, but don’t worry, we have the secret ingredient to help us get up to par. We call it our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, a simple but most productive prayer, suitable for any ailment you have on a Monday morning. 

So let’s join together in saying it nuh, because we all need prayer regardless of how strong and faithful we are. As one 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!’ 

Yuh feel it friends? Yuh feel the power of the Holy Spirit just working its way through your soul and spirit? I know you do, because I feel it too! It never ceases to amaze me that whenever we pray that prayer, how my enthusiasm level just rises another notch, even when it’s already high! That’s the giddy answer (smile) of our great God to our genuine and sincere prayer. And believe me, I needed a boost this morning, because it seems I caught some bug on the plane. 

When you’re packed like sardines with so many people hacking and sneezing, with one lady right next to me, it’s not unusual to catch something. Brother! After church yesterday, where I was feeling lousy, with my throat aching, I came home, had breakfast and went straight to bed. Remember I don’t have my I-pad, so I couldn’t play any games first. (smile) And I spent the whole day there, just getting up for supper in the afternoon and going straight back. 

I also spent most of the night there, waking and sleeping, listening to the strong wind that kept blowing all day through the trees. Sometimes it sounded like rain, but when I opened my eyes and looked, it was still just the wind. Sometime in the early morning hours I did get up and say some prayers, not fully conscious though, but I know our wonderful God understood, because my heart was in the right place. 

Oh friends, I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful God we serve and worship because He doesn’t look at our outward actions but at the motives of our hearts, and if they are true and sincere, He does accept our faults and frailties. In any case, He already knows them better than us. And we see this plainly in the words of the Lord to Samuel when He sent him to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel. Samuel looked at Eliab, big and strong and handsome and thought ‘This must be the one‘ 

‘But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused (rejected) him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’  But that doesn’t mean that the Lord doesn’t like good-looking people, for it was said of Bruh David: ‘he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look at.’ (1 Kin.16:12) Meaning he had bright eyes and was also good-looking, and he must have been strong too from all those hours out in the wild. (smile) 

Oh my people, unfortunately we can only look on the outward actions of our fellow man, so we can’t tell what is truly in their hearts, but the Lord can. And we see the good motives and intentions of our hearts played out quite plainly in Bruh David. Although he made many mistakes, and the Lord did punish him for them, He never left him, because Bruh David never left Him either. He always stuck to the God of His Fathers. 

Note too, the prayer of Cousin Sol, when the Lord asked him what he wanted. ‘Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people. And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon has asked this thing.’ (1 Kin.3:9-10) ‘And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore.’ (1 Kin.4:29) 

Yes friends, most of what we ask for, if it falls within the Father’s will and our hearts are true, we will get them. But note when Cousin Sol got old and turned to the gods of his many wives, how the Lord blanked him. ‘And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel which had appeared unto him twice. And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.’ (1 Kin.11:9-10) 

Therefore the Lord told Cousin Sol he would take away the kingdom from him, but not in his days, but in his son’s. And why was the Lord so generous? ‘For David thy father’s sake…for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.’ (1 Kin.11:12b,13c) Yuh see mih people, though Bruh David did a whole lot of wrong, his heart never strayed from his God, and that eventually made him a measuring stick for faithfulness in the Old Testament. 

Are we faithful, can the Lord use us as a measuring stick for others today? Possibly not, but if we keep striving to be faithful and keep doing our best, one day the Lord might even deign to consider us His friend and a man after His own heart, like He said of Bruh David. I can think of no higher accolade that our great God can pay us. Much LOVE!

…the motives of our heart…must be right…when we come to the Lord in prayer…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 August 2018 John 14:27.

John 14:27.   Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

And then it was Wednesday; the mid-point of the workweek, and a lot of people exhale a grateful sigh that the week’s nearly over. Now yesterday was a rainy day in my area, and I slept a lot of it away, (smile) but I can’t afford to do that today, because I have things to go out the street and do, so I hope the sun that’s valiantly trying to push its way through some swirling dark clouds out there is successful. 

And later in the evening, I also want to go down to the C.N.E, the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, to our annual country fair and see international Reggae Artist Freddie McGregor and our local boy Jay Douglas at the Band Shell. It’s a long walk from the train station to the Band Shell and it’s also an open-air venue, so the rain definitely will not be welcomed. 

But then I just thought, who controls the rain eh? The Lord God Almighty! And if He wants to send it pouring down, who is to say Him nay eh? Nobody! Let’s just hope and pray He doesn’t make that unfortunate decision today eh. (smile) And even if He does, we just have to live with it. 

That makes this quote of the famous American essayist, lecturer and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) come in very handy. ‘Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.’ Yes friends, that’s ever so true, because if you don’t accept peace, even that of Jesus, you won’t ever have it. One must make a conscious decision to accept peace, to live in peace and fervently pursue peace. 

As our One More Day Devotional – Daily Meditations for People with Chronic Illness tells us: ‘True peace comes from the harmony we feel within ourselves. We don’t go out and get peace of mind; it’s the result of what we do. Harmony is being at ease with ourselves, our surroundings, and with our lives. This is no easy task, as we must come to grips with the issues that cause us concern. 

This doesn’t mean that all our problems must be solved before we can have inner peace, for life will be much like a mountain road, with twists and turns and many unexpected bumps. Peace is a reality for those who accept what cannot be changed and take up the challenges that can and must be dealt with. Peace is easier to attain when we cherish the gifts of the present moment.’ 

And isn’t that the indisputable truth my brethren! When we appreciate what we have, and are not complaining or loudly clamouring for what we don’t have, it’s much easier for our souls to find peace. And the thought for that day’s devotional declares: ‘In my life, peace begins with me. I will remember that peace is a prize of the spirit and is available to everyone.’ 

Now that’s basically true, but in this current world, peace is not a valued commodity. Things like strife and anger and war and resentment seem to be more prized. So if you’re trying to find peace in worldly terms, you have an almost impossible task to fulfill. But friends, if you really want peace, the ultimate peace, then you have to look to Jesus for it. 

Listen to what He told His disciples as He warned them of His impending return to heaven. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ 

Wow mih people! What mighty words from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Only He could have made such a pronouncement to the disciples in their time of fear. That’s because He knew the power of the Holy Spirit that was to come upon them after He left. 

And it’s that same Holy Spirit that comforts us in our dark and desperate times. But as with everything else, we have to accept it, and work with it. It just doesn’t happen on its own or overnight. We have to actively go after it. As Bruh David says in Psalm 34 – The Lord hears the righteous: ‘Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.’ (Ps.34:14) Yeh friends, peace in our lives, all depends on us actively seeking it. 

And here is Bruh Paul’s sage advice on finding it. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:4-7) 

Ah my fellow believers, that’s such wise and wonderful advice! Please, let’s promise ourselves today to take it to heart and put it into action nuh! For that’s the only way we will achieve the wonderful peace of God that passes all human understanding. 

And for those of us who have already made that wise and momentous decision, we can now go home in peace, safety and comfort, declaring our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know our sure position in Christ Jesus. So with a strong sense of purpose and loud voice, let’s wail nuh: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! 

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And I can’t help but say it, because it’s oh so true: That future with Christ will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…there’s no other way to gain true peace…than through Jesus…the Prince of Peace…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 June 2014 Acts 5:29

Acts 5:29.  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
 
‘Friday, oh Friday, beautiful and blessed Friday! Thank God for it yes! Thank God it’s Friday, and the work week is drawing to a close! Thank God for Fridays!’
 
Yes my people, we ought to thank God for Fridays as our work week winds down. But even more importantly, we are to thank Him for every day that we draw breath, every day we open our bleary eyes to a new, exciting and uplifting day filled with His faithful promises of new mercies, blessings and the same old, same old but beautiful, unconditional and everlasting LOVE!
 
And all God’s children said ‘Praise the Lord!’ 
 
Now let’s chant our Friday Chant to give us the right perspective for handling the big two days off over the weekend. As one, holy chanting voice now: ‘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.’
 
Now that should give us a little better guidance on how to spend the weekend; not merely in sloth, slumber and/or decadence, but in rest, relaxation and fellowship. (smile)
 
And we’ll continue looking at the mighty moving of the Holy Spirit in Acts… And please don’t ask me when we’ll be done with that, because I truly don’t know. I’m just taking it one day at a time, as per how the Spirit moves me. (smile)
 
Oh Friends, I know that too many of us have the worldly trait in us, where we don’t want to hear about anything on a consistent basis. Everyday we want it new, even though we haven’t understood what we’ve heard before. But my Brethren, the Holy Spirit is the MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF OUR EARTHLY LIVES!
 
Why? Because it is our DIRECT CONNECTION TO JESUS; TO ALMIGHTY GOD! It is the arm of the Holy Trinity that’s supposed to lead and guide us into all truth and righteousness!
 
And without our serious knowledge of its awesome power and purpose, how it worked before, and how it can still work in us, we’re lost, floundering like a rudderless ship on a stormy sea, for it’s the Holy Spirit that imparts God’s direction, strength, purpose and plan for our lives.
 
And having tried to convince us of the necessity of knowing about and fully understanding God’s magnificent Spirit, let’s hear what happens after the confounded Jewish council heard that the apostles weren’t in prison, where they had placed them the day before, but were teaching in the temple.
 
‘Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
 
Saying, did not we straitly (strictly) command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.’ (Acts 5:26-29)
 
And those words of our Bit my brethren are gospel truth! God’s word is way way more important than man’s!
 
But please listen closely to the scholars’ note on that verse. ‘5:29. Peter is not sanctioning civil disobedience, as he makes clear in his first epistle (1 Pet.2:13-17; cf. Rom.13:1-7). We are to obey civil government, but when it goes contrary to the explicit commands of God, we must obey God and be ready to suffer the consequences.’
 
That’s more gospel truth my people! But please take a moment and read those referenced scriptures, for they will greatly enlighten you as to what our responsibility is to both man and God.
 
However, as the scholars note, we must be prepared to suffer the consequences re honouring God’s word if it differs from that of man. Quite often those consequences can be very serious, even life threatening, but we must have the enabling faith to not waiver, to stand our ground, knowing that our great God WILL NOT leave us in the lurch when we stand up strong and steadfast in His Holy Name.
 
And that’s another reason why we so desperately need to know about and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, because He is the ONE who also enlightens us about wrong and right! It was the power of the Holy Spirit that gave the apostles the wisdom and the courage to stand up against a group of men who had earthly dominion over them.
 
And boldly, they continued in the power of the Spirit to inform the council: ‘The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance in Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
 
And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.’ (Acts 5:30-32)
 
Oh Friends, more gospel truth! Wow! What a morning, where we’ve heard, been bombarded by so much indisputable, unadulterated truth! (smile)
 
Now let’s go out into the evil, ungodly world in which we dwell, but are NOT a part of, and let that truth of Jesus set us free, through the providential guidance and direction of His Holy Spirit. Much LOVE!
 
…if you don’t understand the how and why of the Holy Spirit…then you can’t use it successfully… 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 June 2014 Acts 5:3

 

Acts 5:3.     But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?    

Monday, oh Monday! The day the working people LOVE to hate, and hate to LOVE! They find it to be a rather great inconvenience in their lives. (smile) But as believers, with Jesus featuring in our hearts, we ought to handle it with much ease, aplomb and peace.

Awright, so realistically we have a hard time getting ourselves together on Mondays, but that’s mostly because we don’t prepare for it properly on Sundays. And furthermore, as I keep reminding us, if we can’t do anything about it, we might as well stop complaining, since complaining doesn’t help, but just makes matters worse. We need to develop a positive mindset, so when we realize that it’s Monday, we just glow with pleasure, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Okay, okay, please don’t shoot the messenger! (smile) Anyway, to help us get over the hump that’s Monday, let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with great gusto. As one harmonious and whole body of Christ 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!’

Oh Friends, that was indeed a most rousing rendition! Jesus was greatly pleased, as He demonstrated by singing and clapping along with us. He could feel the Holy Spirit diligently moving in our hearts and souls. And today we’ll continue looking at the movement and power of the Holy Spirit back in the early days of Christianity.

Now, before we interrupted our message on the Holy Spirit for Father’s day, we had just seen where a whole lot of believers were selling their possessions and joining in a communal way of life. At the end of chapter 4 we were told about Joses, surnamed Barnabas, who sold his possessions and brought the proceeds to the apostles. And chapter 5 opens with the story of two other people who did the same thing, but with a slightly different twist.

Listen to the Good Book relate it. ‘But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to (aware of) it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles feet.’ (Acts 5:1-2)

And my people, here the Spirit of God truly begins to work, as Peter declares to Ananias starting with our Bit. ‘But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power (control)? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost (breathed his last): and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound (wrapped) him up, and carried him out, and buried him.’ (Acts 5:3-6)

Lordy, Lordy, my brethren, what a poignant and perfect example the Holy Spirit set!

Now here are some explanations from the scholars. ‘5:3-4. The deity of the Holy Spirit is evident within this passage. In verse 3 Peter states that Ananias has lied to the Holy Spirit. Then in verse 4 Ananias is told he has lied to God.

5:4. Communal sharing is still being practiced some weeks or months after Pentecost, but it was totally voluntary. Ananias’s sin was not that of keeping back part of what he sold, but his hypocrisy about it.

5:5. Though God does not judge every believer’s sin with death, in some situations God does. (1 Cor.11:30; 1 John 5:16).As with Achan, this first act in a new era serves as an example (Josh.7:10-26).’

That last reference is to the story of Achan, who disobeyed God’s ban on taking plunder from the fall of Jericho. That led the Lord to take away His favour from Israel in time of war. Eventually Achan confessed, then he and his family were stoned to death, and burned with fire. What a horrible way to die! But the Lord apparently desired that sacrifice to appease His anger and disappointment, and also set an example, letting the people know that disobedience would be severely punished.

Oh Friends, I think we’ll stop there for today, because what I’d like to say would definitely make the Bit too long, and I never want to tax our powers of concentration too much, especially on a Monday morning. (smile)

So let’s ponder the lessons found in today’s message and learn from them nuh, so that the same, or similar repercussions won’t befall us. It’s always better to learn from the mistakes of others. That’s wisdom at its zenith! Much LOVE!

…totally living for Jesus… is such a beautiful and inspiring thing…there’s nothing else on earth that compares to it…nothing else even comes close…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 June 2014 Acts 4:31

Acts 4:31.     And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Oh Friends, it’s Saturday! Yeh, and you’ll notice that no evil spirits took hold of you yesterday, Friday the 13th. (smile)

That’s because you believe in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit of Christ is immensely stronger than any evil spirit that exists. Our downfall though is when through ignorance and/or foolish pride, we don’t acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit and then follow His lead and guidance.

And yes, we’re going to continue looking at the works of the Holy Spirit after its widespread dispersal on that fateful day of Pentecost. And that’s because my people the Holy Spirit is such an integral part of our Christian lives, and if we don’t understand its use and its immense power we’ll be selling our faith and ourselves short. So please bear with the ole fella as he tries to raise our understanding of the most important element in our lives. (smile)  

Yesterday we saw, where in the face of the multitudes glorifying God, and the lame man healed in their presence through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Jewish rulers had no just cause to punish Peter and John, so they simply threatened them before setting them free.

‘And being let go, they went to their own company (companions), and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine (plot) vain things? The kings of the earth stood up (took their stand), and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ.

For of a truth against thy holy child (servant) Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together. For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel (purpose) determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by (through) the name of thy holy child (servant) Jesus.’ (Acts 4:23-30)

Oh my brethren, how beautiful and heartwarming it is to our most gracious and wonderful God, when believers unite in praise and prayer! Remember, as Jesus so avidly and faithfully promised: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20)

And was He ever amongst that group of believers that day!

Hear the Good Book tell it, through the words of our Bit: ‘And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.’

Oh Friends, what a mighty mover and shaker is the Holy Spirit of Christ! And the scholars remind us: ‘4:31. As with Peter in verse 8, so now the whole body of believers experiences a renewal of the controlling influence or filling of the Spirit. See the note on 2:4.’

That deals with the difference between being baptized with the Holy Spirit, or the first anointing as a new believer, as opposed to the being refilled and refreshed at different stages of our walk of faith. Back in verse 8, Peter was recharged with the Holy Spirit which enabled him to stand up and boldly speak to the Jewish rulers.

And not only were the believers emboldened that day by the Holy Spirit, but their communal living was also vastly enriched. ‘And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught (any) of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices (proceeds) of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is being interpreted, The son of consolation (encouragement), a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.’ (Acts 4:32-37)

Oh my people, how good and how pleasant it is when believers dwell together in unity!

And though we know that kind of communal living won’t work properly in our society, there’s no need, no reason why we can’t be a more caring and considerate community of believers. The problem there is that we allow the world and its ungodly ways to come between us. For despite all the talk we talk, we’re still ruled by the things of the world and not by the things of God.

Yuh see how none of those early believers lacked for anything, and everyone was given as they had need? Hn! In our society though, so many lack and have need, while others have excess that they will not share. We’re always looking for a way to increase. And generally that’s not a bad thing…but at what cost? At what cost to others in our community, and at what cost to our relationships with our families and with our God?

That’s the question we need to ponder today my people; how much is our involvement in the ungodly world destroying our godly nature. Remember, we must be IN the world, but not OF it.

So let’s seriously consider our positions, then, with God’s ever-available and always generous help, try and come up better. For that’s eternal wisdom. Much LOVE!

…for though we be Jew or Gentile…of different creed and race…we all fall under the same all-encompassing LOVE of Jesus…

 

 

 

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