Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 May 2020 Genesis 2:17.

Genesis 2:17.    ​But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

‘Monday, Monday…Oh how I hate that day!…Come Monday morning, I’d wake up crying…Monday Monday!’ Ah friends, many of us older folks, please note I said older, not old folks, (smile) will remember those words, or some facsimile thereof (smile) from the hit song by the Mamas and Papas released in 1966, and which has become something of an institution over the years to denigrate Mondays. Thus to this day, some six decades later, Monday is looked upon as an outcast, as the poor relation, the devil day of the week, simply because it heralds the start of our work week, cuts into the good times we’ve been having over the weekend. 

But if we want to eat, some of us have to work. It’s as simple as that. And in these uncertain and turbulent times, when life is so fragile, we need a lot of help just to make it through each day. But the good news is that we have powerful help, reassuring help, our omnipotent God! So let’s communicate with Him nuh, through what we call our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, letting Him know that we desperately need His divine favour and succour. 

As one strong voice: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. Our anxieties have even deepened in the last few days because some restrictions have been lifted, and more of us have to go to work now. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we 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 come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. 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 all of that sounds good and proper, but yuh know what friends, we are our own worst enemy. And why do I say that? Because of the gross irresponsibility a lot of us are showing in these dangerous and unpredictable times. Good example; yesterday, Sunday, with the recent lifting of some park restrictions, and with the wonderful weather and temperature conditions, the small Trinity Bellwoods Park in the south western part of the city of Toronto saw several thousands of people picnicking and partying there, with no regard whatsoever to the terrible backlash  their irresponsible behaviour could provoke, as we still don’t have a proper handle on the virus that’s holding us to ransom. 

The only way we can control it right now is by physical distancing, which obviously wasn’t being practiced in that park yesterday. And in the U.S. on their Memorial Day weekend, there have already been numerous incidents of crowds on beaches and in parties in parks and elsewhere causing controversies with the authorities. And no doubt there’ll be more on the holiday today. 

So what’s a body to say to that kind of irresponsible behaviour eh? Yes, it’s hard been locked down for a long while, but which do we prefer, to be safe and somewhat stir crazy, or free and easy and dead eh? And it’s not like people aren’t dying in large numbers from the Covid-19 disease. So why this crazy reaction? We really shouldn’t be surprised nuh, because flouting rules and regulations seems to be the natural nature of man. Look at how our forefather’s Adam and Eve screwed it up in the Garden of Eden when they had it so good. 

Yuh know is one, ONE simple rule the Lord gave them: ‘And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest eat freely: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ (Gen. 2:16-17) Oh friends, according to the scholars, ‘2:16. The Hebrew words expressly emphasize, ‘you may eat to your heart’s content, of every other tree but that one in the middle.’ 

But as they say further: ‘Note Satan’s subtle assertion in 3:1. As he focused on the “one” tree they could not eat from. In so doing, he excluded the abundance in this verse.’ Yuh see how the ole serpent smart; he teased them with the one thing they couldn’t have, ignoring the abundance of all the other things they could have. And that’s the exact way we are still behaving to this day. We ‘re never satisfied with what we do have, but are always in search of what we don’t have, but think we ought to. 

It’s simply a combination of greed and stupidity. But when we suffer the necessary consequences, then we hold our heads and bawl; ‘If I’d only known eh…’ But you did know because it was spelt out in spades, but you chose to disobey it. And with Adam and Eve, death was a sure thing if they disobeyed. But Satan again weaved his deceitful web around them by blatantly denying God’s promise and saying to Eve: ‘Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods (God), knowing good and evil.’ (Gen. 3:4-5) 

And yes technically speaking, their eyes were opened. ‘But the problem was that their eyes were opened to behold all things in the light of their own sinfulness. They would have a fixed moral nature like God; but it was fixed in sin, not righteousness. They knew good, but were unable to do it; and they knew evil, but were unable to resist it. There has always been the temptation to be like God. Here it suggests that God is holding something back from Adam and Eve.’ 

Yuh see how Satan could tie us up with unsaid suggestions or intimations. And today, unfortunately, we still falling for his deceitfulness, just like Adam and Eve. Nothing’s really changed nuh friends, we’re still disobedient to the rules and regulations of both our heavenly Father and our earthly leaders. And yuh know what? The same thing, certain death is forecasted for many of us if we insist on being disobedient! Much LOVE!

 …for dust thou art…and unto dust shalt thou return… (Gen. 3:19b)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 May 2020 2 Chronicles 7:15.

2 Chronicles 7:15.    ​Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.
 
Chuh! One more Sunday without physical corporate worship friends. But don’t worry, we’re drawing close to the day when the Lord’s sanctuaries will again be opened, and we’ll greet each other with hugs and kisses and handshakes and other physical greetings, as we sing and dance and enjoy physical fellowship together under one roof. (smile) As children of the Most High God Jehovah we must resonate with hope. And the restrictions are being slowly loosened, so it’s not like I’m totally talking out of my hat. 

Anyway, we’re still restricted from gathering physically to worship, but not through all the handy technological means we have today. So let’s get on with it nuh, let’s sing and dance and listen to the Word and gain confidence and enthusiasm and strength from it through our technological interaction, in our own personal spaces, adhering to the restrictions of physical distancing, but enjoying the social and spiritual closeness that we so badly need. And in these pandemic times, times of much anxiety and uncertainty, when our world is caught between a rock and a hard place with this Coronavirus that’s overwhelming us, we need a song of praise and worship that encourages and strengthens us and gives us hope for the future. 

And today we have one such song, most appropriately titled ‘God answers Prayer,’ sung by a young Jamaican lady who calls herself Da Flame. It’s a medium tempo soulful song, that details our many problems, but gives us hope, because we have someone who looks after us in our time of need. So in soulful harmony, let’s raise our sacrifice of praise and pleading to high heaven, drawing every emotion from deep down in our hurting and anxious hearts. ‘If you’re ever feeling down and like you have no where to go. If you’re feeling like an outcast as your problems overflow, just remember there is someone, and all it takes is for you to know, is that God is the answer, and God answers prayer. 

(Chorus: He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer) You may be broken and feel battered, but your strength will surely come, in the midst of all your heartache. Your battles are already won. Just remember in the hard times, don’t give up, don’t say you’re done, because God is the answer, and God answers prayer. 

(He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer. Oh He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for us. So let’s get down on our knees, and say, Saviour, help us please. Because one thing is for certain…our God answers prayer.’ 

Oh yes friends, that’s an indisputable fact: our great and faithful, merciful and gracious, forgiving and ever-LOVING God answers each and every prayer we offer up to Him with a sincere heart. He might not give us what we want when we want it, but He does answer our requests, with either an outright no, because it’s not in His will, a wait, not yet, or a definite yes.

And the one good thing that this Covid-19 disease is doing is turning more people than ever to prayer, because we realize that man made answers are not being quickly forthcoming, and when the chips are finally down, when we have no where else to turn, many of us turn to God, as our last resort, our final hope. 

And nothing’s wrong with that, although He should be our first avenue of help. The problem though is when we finally turn to Him and He doesn’t respond as quickly as we like, we get annoyed and go back to blaspheming and bad talking Him. But that’s another sermon for another day. (smile) Today we’re talking about Him answering our prayers. And that He certainly does, though not necessarily in our time. Remember He says that His thoughts and ways and timing are higher than ours, so one of the things we have to do is learn to wait on Him. He might take a while, but I can assure you, He’s NEVER late. 

And if you don’t believe me that He answers prayer, let’s look at a couple of scriptures that reassure us of it. Remember when Cousin Sol dedicated the majestic temple in Israel? Well he asked the Lord for one basic thing; if His children faltered in their obedience, but then returned and prayed at the temple, His house: ‘Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.’ (2 Chr. 6:35) 

And what was the Lord’s reply? ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.’ (2 Chr. 7:14-15) And we see it happen all the way through the Good Book, where the Israelites turned away from God, then turned back, and He heard their prayer and forgave them. The same thing goes for us today my brethren. 

As the scholars tell us: ‘7:14-15. While this promise was originally given to Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith. These verses stand as a high expression of God’s LOVING readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people (cf. 6:37-39; James 4:8-10).’ 

Yes friends, God answers prayer, but our hearts, our motives must be right. Now are our hearts and motives right, are we being truly repentant in these pandemic times, or are we just mouthing platitudes, and as soon as He heals our land, we’ll go back to our old, wicked ways?  I don’t know, but He will certainly check it out first. 

And Bruh David verified that the Lord answers prayer, when he declared: ‘In the day when I cried thou answeredst (answered) me, and strengthenedst (strengthened) me with strength in my soul.’ (Ps. 138:3) And Jesus faithfully promised the disciples: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt.21:22) Meanwhile, John says it thus: ‘And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.’ (John 14:13-14) 

Ah mih people, our God does answer prayer, but there are indeed some requirements for us to meet. Much LOVE!

…answered prayer…calls for…sincere hearts…and true belief in Jesus…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 April 2020 Psalm 46:1.

Psalm 46:1.    God is our refuge and strength, a very present (abundantly available) help in trouble.
 
Now bless the Lord, we ‘ve moved on to Thursday, which used to be important as the penultimate day of the work week, because it heralded Friday, which in turn heralded the much looked forward to and desired weekend! But now that work is such a scarce and nebulous thing, mostly virtual, (smile) Thursday has become just like any other day…bland and unappealing, with mostly the same ole, same ole nothing to do – except to delve into social media with even more gusto than before. 

Hn! And is there a lot to delve into! Here’s some more rhetoric that’s traversing the social media. It’s reputed that Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said these words as he warned against people misbehaving during this Covid-19 period. “God has a lot of work, He has the whole world to look after. He cannot just be here in Uganda looking after idiots…’ Now who knows if he really said that eh? But it does make for interesting reading. Now there was another part attached to the message I received, but the sender wasn’t sure if it was the Ugandan president speaking, so we’ll just report this message separately, cause it’s also an interesting message. 

So read with me: ‘In a war situation, nobody asks anybody to stay indoors. You stay indoors by choice. In fact, if you have a basement, you hide there for as long as hostilities persist. During a war, you don’t insist on your freedom. You willingly give it up in exchange for survival. During a war, you don’t complain of hunger. You bear hunger and pray that you live to eat again. During a war, you don’t argue about opening your business. You close your shop (if you have the time), and run for your life. You pray to outlive the war so that you can return to your business (that’s if it has not been looted or destroyed by mortar fire). 

During a war, you are thankful to God for seeing another day in the land of the living. During a war, you don’t worry about your children not going to school. You pray that the government doesn’t forcefully enlist them as soldiers to be trained in the school premises now turned military depot. The world is currently in a state of war. A war without guns and bullets. A war without human soldiers. A war without borders. A war without cease-fire agreements. A war without a war room. A war without sacred zones. The army in this war is without mercy. It is without any milk of human kindness. It is indiscriminate – it has no respect for children, women, or places of worship. 

This army is not interested in spoils of war. It has no intention of regime change. It is not concerned about the rich mineral resources underneath the earth. It is not even interested in religious, ethnic or ideological hegemony. Its ambition has nothing to do with racial superiority. It is an invisible, fleetfooted, and ruthlessly effective army. It’s only agenda is a harvest of death. It is only satiated after turning the world into one big death field. Its capacity to achieve its aim is not in doubt. Without ground, amphibious and aerial machines, it has bases in almost every country in the world. 

Its movement is not governed by any war convention or protocol. In short, it is a law unto itself. It is Coronavirus. Also known as Covid-19 (because it announced its destructive presence and intention in the year of our Lord 2019). Thankfully, this army has a weakness and it can be defeated. It only requires our collective action, discipline and forbearance. Covid-19 cannot survive social and physical distancing. It only thrives when you confront it. It LOVES to be confronted. 

It capitulates in the face of collective social and physical distancing. It bows before good personal hygiene. It is helpless when you take your destiny in your own hands by keeping them sanitized as often as possible. This is not a time to cry about bread and butter like spoilt children. After all, the Holy book tells us that man shall not live by bread alone. Let’s obey and follow the instructions of the authorities. Let’s flatten the Covid-19 curve. Let’s exercise patience. Let’s be our brother’s keeper. In no time, we shall regain our freedom, enterprise and socializing.’ 

Phew! That was long, but certainly interesting. I know many of us can’t associate with the pictures of war that the author draws, but coincidentally, I am currently reading a book about the Nigerian civil war when the nation of Biafra was born for a short while – May 1967- January 1970, and one of the fears of the populace was indeed young men being forcibly drafted in to the army that was training in previous school compounds, as well as a serious shortage of food and housing. 

And yuh know what, Jesus did respond to one of Satan’s temptations in the wilderness with the man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ (Matt. 4:4). So let’s find some suitable words from God’s mouth that we can live by in these turbulent times nuh. What about these from Psalm 46, titled ‘God is our refuge and strength?’  The words of the sons of Korah are indeed encouraging and reassuring, so please recite them with me: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present (abundantly available) help in trouble. 

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. … Come behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.   Selah.’ (Ps.46:1-3; 8-11) 

And there is nothing stronger or more reassuring than knowing that our great God is with us my faithful brethren! He will end this crazy war – in His own time! So let’s not fear! Instead let’s loudly and joyfully declare our Thursday Blessings, that He so generously bestowed on us to do His awesome work in tough times such as these. All together now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! 

I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

So what we waiting for then eh? Let’s go out and generously share all that stuff… or rather, share it through social media and social distancing! (smile) Much LOVE!

…this is not a war we can win on our own…we desperately need the Lord’s help…so let’s repent…and pray for it…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 April 2020 Joshua 1:9.

Joshua 1:9.    ​Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed : for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
 
Come together…right now…over Covid-19! Yes friends, that’s the wise and sensible thing for us all to do – come together to fight this dreadful virus! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a believer or an unbeliever, or of any other persuasion or distinction, because the virus doesn’t play favourites in that regard. Once you’re a human being, a creation of the Most High God, you’re considered suitable, or rather excellent material to invade and proliferate within. So let’s put aside all animosity and differences nuh, and fight together, because this is truly a fight for mankind’s existence here on earth. 

And it’s not like we’ve never had a fight or fights before to stay superior here on Mother Earth, we’ve had several down through the ages, and I believe that it’s a powerful togetherness back in those dangerous times that still has us ruling this dominion. And one of the good things about our current predicament, is that it causes us to go back in history and look for similar situations and how they were handled. Now, yesterday I received a poem and picture that someone recently came across. Apparently it was written way back in time – 1869, to be exact, and reprinted during the 1919 Pandemic. 

And I’m chuckling, because I just noticed how similar those pandemic dates are; the same number of the century and year – 1919, 2020. Don’t know if it means anything. (smile) Anyway the picture is of two adult, well dressed women, with their Panama-like hats covering their heads, and large masks covering the entire lower portion of their face; everything but their eyes. And they are walking down the sidewalk arm in arm, as if coming from the grocery. Judging by the picture though, it doesn’t seem as if they were practicing social distancing back then, as we are encouraged to do now. 

Anyhow, here is the poem. And as the person truthfully writes: ‘This is Timeless… And people stayed at home And read books And listened And they rested And did exercises And made art and played And learned new ways of being And stopped and listened More deeply And someone meditated, someone prayed Someone met their shadow 

And people began to think differently And people healed And in the absence of people who Lived in ignorant ways Dangerous, meaningless and heartless, The earth also began to heal And when the danger ended and People found themselves They grieved for the dead And made new choices And dreamed of new visions And created new ways of living And completely healed the earth Just as they were healed.’ 

Oh my people, that was a hundred years ago, how reminiscent of the time we are now going through eh! But you see they did what they were supposed to do, come together, stay at home, pray, meditate, rest, do exercises, listen…then listen more deeply, stop living dangerously and ignorantly, without compassion, and follow the rules and regulations, because that’s the only way this virus is going to be stopped and hopefully eradicated. And when it’s done, we too will have to grieve for the dead, make new choices, dream new dreams, have new visions and find new ways to live this life, since a lot of things would have changed during the pandemic time. 

And what I like about that poem is that even way back then, people were concerned about the state of the earth, what we now call climate change was beginning to show forth. Yes my people, the healing of the earth was also important, not only the healing of the people. And that’s one of the things we badly need to consider during these disastrous times; how can we help the earth heal, after all the foolish and careless damage we’ve done to it? 

And the best way I know is by listening to what the Lord promised Cousin Sol when he dedicated the temple. ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’ (2 Chr. 7:14) And there’s absolutely no doubt friends that our land needs healing just as badly as we the people on it do! 

So let’s look at it this way nuh; if we want our children, their children, and future generations to enjoy a good life on a good Planet Earth, then it’s absolutely necessary that we pull together RIGHT NOW! We need to take this virus very seriously; stay at home as much as possible, practice social distancing, clean habits, pray, meditate, day and night as the Good Book says and encourage each other through the many means we still have available to us. 

Ah mih people, this generation has never seen anything like it, and for the few of us who’ve seen war, it’s even more dangerous and deadly than that. And there are no more telling words in the Good Book than these that the Lord spoke to Joshua way back when. ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do all that is written therein: for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed : for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’ (Josh. 1:8-9) 

Yes friends, those are possibly the two most powerful verses in the Good Book re successful earthly living. So let’s get right on it now nuh; let’s read the Word, study and meditate on it, then put it into action in our lives, while staying strong and courageous because our omnipotent God is still in control and He has NEVER, and will NEVER  let us down, because He is faithful, who promised. 

Now let’s declare our Wednesday Wail, showing the world how we’re standing strong and courageous in the Lord and thus having good success. As one strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘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 if we truly believe, then we’ll know that the future with Christ will be even more glorious than our finite and puny minds can even ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…to God be the glory…to God be the praise… for His everlasting grace and mercy…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 March 2020 Psalm 103:11.

Psalm 103:11.    For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy (LOVING-kindness) toward them that fear him.
 
Well it’s another brand new day in the life! Let’s give thanks and praise to our great and mighty God for it, despite the many problems we face in these trying and uncertain times. There’s no need to fear or worry for our God can handle any circumstance and has promised to do so once we cry out to Him for help. That is our most serious problem; not crying out to Him sincerely for help. But thankfully, this Covid-19 virus seems to be slowly changing our outlook. We’re supposed to be a faithful people, and now it’s time for us to show that faith in true blue colours. 

And I got a very interesting note from a friend yesterday which encourages us to do just that. It reads as follows: ‘In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said: “You want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centres. You want to worship actors, I will shut down the theatres. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.” 

(And then there’s a quote directly from the Bible; God’s guiding Word and light to mankind:) “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14) And the message continues: ‘Maybe we don’t need a vaccine; maybe we need to take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on the ONLY thing in the world that really matters: JESUS!’ 

Oh my people, that’s what I’ve been saying for the last little while. This Covid-19 stuff is no happenstance circumstance, but a warning from our God! And there’s no MAYBE we should turn back to Him. It’s the ONLY Solution to our problem, for even if and when we do discover a vaccine, it might just be too late. Remember God’s promise: ‘If we humble ourselves and pray, and seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways, then He will hear us, forgive us, and heal our land.’ Now humbling ourselves, praying and seeking His face is comparatively easy, but if we don’t change our wicked ways, then nothing’s going to improve. 

It’s mostly the wicked ways, or in everyday parlance, the overwhelming SIN in our world, that causes our problems. And if, as we’re currently doing, venerating everything and everybody else besides Almighty God, in blatant and blaspheming disobedience, then eventually He will take us to task. Just think about all the times God’s Chosen people, the Israelites turned aside from worshipping Him nuh, and how each and every time they suffered some significant dilemma and disaster. Why won’t He do the same to us now eh? Oh yes! He’s still sits on His heavenly throne and still controls the great and wonderful universe He made. 

And in a significant expression of hope, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto are encouraging ALL believers to a day of prayer and fasting TODAY, Thursday March 26. And you can turn to the Diocesan Day of Prayer & Fasting, March 26, on the website that follows. You will have to type it in manually, because my limited technological knowledge would not allow me to just copy it for your ease of use. (smile) And there you will find some suggested prayers for morning, noon and evening, and guidelines for fasting. (smile) www.toronto.anglican.ca/2020/03/20/diocesan-day-of-prayer

Oh friends, I cannot stress how important the need is RIGHT NOW for sincere prayer and true repentance! And I just had a thought that made me chuckle. Yuh notice when the Lord start this whole Covid -19 ball rolling – in the season of Lent, when we’re supposed to be more contemplative and godly and into Him and His ways! Remember, NOTHING happens with us and our God without a reason and a purpose. And you know what I LOVE about our God, is that although He punishes us for our disobedience, He never gives us more than we can bear. 

Hear this awesome promise, He makes through Bruh Paul. ‘There hath no temptation taken (overtaken) you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ (1 Cor. 10:13) 

And to those inspiring and reassuring words of Bruh Paul, let’s add these momentous words of Bruh David’s. ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous (abounding) in mercy (LOVING-kindness).  He will not always chide (strive): neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy (LOVING-kindness) toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.’ (Ps. 103:8-13) 

Yes friends, the Lord is a most merciful and magnanimous God… but to those who fear, who reverence, who sincerely seek and worship Him! The wicked He will cast away like trash, but the righteous He will comfort and care for. And you definitely can’t say that our world has recently been a place of righteousness, but one of infernal wickedness. 

And just a li’l side story on the subject. Yesterday afternoon I went up the street for a walk; the sun was shining brightly and it was somewhat warm, but much to my surprise along the sidewalk somebody or bodies had drawn smiles, and hearts and sunshine in different colours of chalk, as well as written messages like: ‘Thanks to anyone who is helping others.’ Thanks to all the health care workers.’ ‘Stay healthy – keep moving.’ Well that is exactly what I was trying to do, along with a few other people, but nowhere near the amount you would normally have seen out on such a lovely spring-like day. 

And those messages also show that people are caring. Let’s see if we can’t ramp up that caring nuh. And we do have the tools for doing so; our Thursday Blessings, generously bestowed on us so we can do the same to others. So, in strong voice, with sincere hearts, let’s loudly and proudly declare them: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now, with those awesome tools, let’s do whatever we can in our lockdown state to further the kingdom of Jesus nuh! It is our bounden duty! Much LOVE!

…seek ye FIRST…the kingdom of God…and His righteousness…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 March 2020 Isaiah 55:7.

Isaiah 55:7.    Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 

And it’s the Lord’s Day once again, meaning it’s church time… Glory be! But since we can’t participate in corporate fellowship because the physical sanctuaries have been closed on account of the rapidly spreading and dangerous Coronavirus, we just have to make do with our li’l internet-based worship. (smile) Oh, you might think it silly, but the fact of the matter is that any which way you can communicate God’s Word and have praise and worship and thanksgiving, it will be considered worthy and appreciated by our heavenly Father. 

So enough talk, (smile) let’s get to today’s song of praise. And it’s a most appropriate soul song composed way back when, by one Ron Miller and first recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1970. But today we going to sing a churchier version, (smile) one done by Ray Charles and Gladys Knight. And by the way, the name of the song is ‘Heaven Help Us All.’ Yes friends, in these scary, dangerous and uncharted times, all of us do need all the help we can get from heaven above. So let’s raise our voices in harmonious praise and thanksgiving, but also in a sincere plea for help in these most trying times. 

Let’s get soulful with Ray and Gladys: ‘Heaven help the boy who never had a home Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone And Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall Lord, won’t you help us all? Heaven help the black man if he struggles one more day Heaven help the white man if he turns his back away Heaven help the man who kicks the man who has to crawl Heaven help us all. (Chorus: Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call) 

Oh, yeah Heaven help the boy who won’t reach twenty-one And Heaven help the man who gave that child a gun And Heaven help the people with their backs against the wall Lord, won’t you help us all? (Chorus: Heaven help us all…when we call) Gladys monologue – ‘I want everybody within the sound of my voice this evening to fall down on their knees and say a prayer; asking for His guidance, His grace, His mercy. You might want to say: Lord, Lord, Lord, have mercy! – 

Now I lay me down before I go to sleep In a troubled world, I pray the Lord, the Lord to keep Keep hatred from the mighty and the mighty from the small Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call. We need You Jesus so won’t you hear us when we call. We can’t do without You, so please hear us when we call. Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call.’ 

Ah friends, I do hope our plea was sincere so that the Lord will act on it. Because, as the song says, our backs are against the wall, both literally and figuratively. This generation has never dealt with a problem of this type and magnitude, so we don’t really know how to handle it. We can deal with war and economic disaster, but we certainly aren’t prepared for an unknown germ on a worldwide scale. And more than ever before, we do need to fall on our  knees and pray; offer a pray of sincere repentance first, just in case this tragedy has befallen us because of our very sinful and disobedient condition. Then pray for guidance, grace and mercy to handle it successfully. 

I might be wrong, but I do think this is the Lord’s way of reminding us of how small and truly insignificant we are, and how little control we have over His universe. But that’s just my opinion, though it certainly won’t do any harm for us to come to our senses and repent. Yuh know we always think that the Israelites were foolish, for having experienced God’s mercy and miracles in bringing them out of bondage from Egypt, they still turned away and worshipped pagan gods and man-made idols. 

However, whenever the Lord made them pay for their disobedience, they were quick to run back to Him. They wisely remembered on which side their bread was buttered. But my people, we have been behaving just as foolishly as they did, by trying to push God out of our society, blaspheming His holy name and considering Him of no account. Now, I believe it’s time for us to do the same wise thing they did on so many occasions; return to the ONE, TRUE and LIVING GOD, He of Abraham, Issacs and Jacob, who created us in His wonderful image and still scrutinizes and macro-manages all of our goings and comings, though we don’t seem to think so. 

And what amazes me is that despite all the promises of our God, we still stubbornly refuse to repent and return to Him. Listen to a few of them. Nehemiah says it all: When the Israelites refused to obey and wanted to rebel against Moses and go back to Egypt, the Lord didn’t punish them: ‘for thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.’ (Neh. 9:17) 

And even when they made a molten calf to worship, despite such provocation: ‘Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.’  (Neh. 9:19-20) 

And Isaiah said it straight up on the Lord’s behalf: ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.’ Wow! Friends, if we can’t accept and believe that scripture in light of all the other faithful promises God has made, then I don’t know what else to say. I can certainly try to persuade you with more promises of pardons for repentance, like in Jeremiah 33:6-9, but I won’t because it will make the Bit too long, and furthermore, at this level of our faith, we shouldn’t need a whole lot of scripture to convince us of God’s awesome promises. Much LOVE!

…what’s the point of having promises…if you don’t believe them eh…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 March 2020 Luke 18:1.

Luke 18:1.    ​And he (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).
 
So we starting off the week in panic mode eh, because of the Corona virus… Almost everything shut down…and in many countries too. And on a point of interest, I wonder how the Corona Beer is doing in these times eh? (smile) Is it selling more or less? Are they still producing it? Strange, but I haven’t seen or heard any mention of that in any of the many news reports. 

But seriously though, what’s going to happen now eh? Who knows? Only the Most High God! And very few of us seem to be paying Him any attention at all. What a pity, because He is the One who holds everything in the palms of His hands. In times of panic we’re supposed to run to our Maker, but too many of us seem to be running elsewhere! But, as with most things, when we finally run out of our own solutions, we usually turn to Him as a last resort, instead of the First Resort! 

Anyhow, be that as it may, the situation’s so bad that some of us don’t have any jobs to go to, especially if you’re part of the gig economy and your place of employment is shut down due to government edict, and if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Hn! What a bam bam eh! Some of us with full time jobs might be blessed enough to get paid to stay home, but I believe that will most likely be the minority. And for those of us who must go out into the fray… Oh, we can’t call it that any longer, since half the world is locked up inside, (smile) many are frightened because of the possibility of contracting the virus from others we meet. 

So what’s the solution eh? That ought to be obvious. We were just talking about our First Resort in times of trouble…the Lord God Jehovah, call on Him for help, turn to Him in sincere prayer. It’s been the number one resort since our faith was born. And hear the Lord to Cousin Sol nuh, when they dedicated the first temple: ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.’ (2 Chr. 7:14-15) 

And that promise still stands firm and faithful to this day. Listen to the scholars. ‘7:14-15. While this promise was originally given to Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith. These verses stand as a high expression of God’s LOVING readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people (cf. 6:37-39; James 4:8-10).’ Ah friends, what more can I say eh, especially if, as too many of us think, the Old Testament is no longer of any value to us? 

Then I’ll just have to reinforce it with verses from the New Testament! (smile) The first being from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; ‘And he (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).’ And Jesus didn’t only talk the talk, He also walked the walk. ‘And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he (Jesus) went out, and departed into a solitary (deserted) place, and there prayed.’ (Mark 1:35) And if you still need convincing (smile), then listen to Bruh Paul to the Thessalonians: ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess. 5:16-18) 

And if you think that’s a bit much, then let the scholars explain. ‘5:18. In every event or circumstance (thing) the Christian is to give thanks to God for the good He can bring out of the event, even should the event be unpleasant. The constant attitude of prayer, mentioned in verse 17, will help the believer to rejoice (vs.16), to pray (vs.17), to give thanks in adversity (vs.18), and by despising prophetic utterances (vs.20) inspired by the Spirit.’ And we won’t worry to get into Bruh Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to pray for all men, and all in power, and that men should pray everywhere (1 Tim. 2:1-8), we’ll just get into some prayer of our own. I’ve sort of rejigged our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. (smile) 

So 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’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Some of us still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we know that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to your Word, but we 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 with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as the politicians, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a masterful antidote to it as quickly as possible. 

And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. 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!’ 

Well that’s the best I could do on short notice. (smile) But please, I beg us to remember that we’ve promised to turn from our evil ways and be more obedient to God’s Word, and if we don’t keep our promise, He’s liable to just let another plague strike the earth, cause He’s still in control of all that happens down here. And remember too that the Lord looks at our hearts, our motives before moving into action, so mere words without sincere, heartfelt motives won’t move Him. Now let’s hunker down and do our part, whatever that might be, faithfully trusting the Lord to do His. Much LOVE!

…prayer…the most powerful tool in our faith box…

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