Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 November 2020 Hebrews 12:2a.

Hebrews 12:2a.     ​Looking unto Jesus the author (originator) and finisher (perfecter) of our faith;

Well friends, it was nice while it lasted; I mean the physical ‘gatheration’ in the Lord’s sanctuary for the past couple of months. But with the Covid -19 business coming back with a vengeance in a second wave, it’s been thought prudent, in my local church, after today, to suspend the physical gathering for a month and revert to just the virtual stuff. And if that saves lives, then so be it. It was good seeing a few people after such a long time though, but the virus is no respecter of persons and it doesn’t make sense trying to buck it if it’s not necessary. 

So let’s get down to the business of worship now nuh. And today we’ll sing a song penned by Marijohn Wilkins and Kris Kristofferson back in the last half of the last century, a favourite of all believers, titled ‘One Day At A Time Sweet Jesus.’ And no, we not doing a strictly soul version, but an easy rocking reggae version, a la Carlene Davis, the well-known Jamaican Gospel singer. So altogether now, let’s raise our voices in sweet harmony as we give praise, thanks and adoration to our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

And we opening with the chorus…some easy skanking now. (smile) ‘(Chorus: One day at a time sweet Jesus That’s all I’m asking from you Give me the strength To do everything that I have to do Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus And tomorrow may never be mine Help me today, show me the way One day at a time) I’m only human I’m just a woman (man) Help me believe in what I could be and all that I am. Oh show me the stairways I have to climb Lord for my sake teach me to take One day at a time. 

(Chorus: One day at a time sweet Jesus That’s all I’m asking from you Just give me the strength To do everything that I have to do Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus And tomorrow may never be mine Help me today, show me the way One day at a time) Oh do you remember? When you walked among men? Well Jesus you know If you’re looking below That its worse now than then Oh there’s Cheating and stealing, violence and crime. So Lord for my sake teach me to take One day at a time) 

(Chorus: One day at a time sweet Jesus That’s all I’m asking from you Just give me the strength To do everything that I have to do Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus And tomorrow may never be mine Help me today, show me the way One day at a time Oh help me today Show me the way One day at a time… One day at a time…Sweet Jesus…Teach me to take One day at a time…One day at a time…Lord help me today…Show me the way…One day at a time.’ 

Oh mih people, that was some nice easy rocking! And what I like about it all is that when the riddim is rocking down here on earth, heaven rocks with us! Glory be! And so it should be, all God’s creation ought to praise Him. As the psalmist so rightly says in Psalm 148 – All creation to praise the Lord. It’s a universal declaration: 

‘Praise ye the Lord (shout Hallelujah): Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished (established) them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. 

Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons (sea creatures), and all deeps. Fire and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men and maidens; old men, and children: 

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent (exalted); his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn (strength, dominion) of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord (shout Hallelujah)!’ 

Yes mih people, the psalmist is calling on everybody, all of God’s creation; heavenly beings and heavenly bodies, as well as earthly beings and earthly substances to give God praise because of His creative power and the towering majesty of His awesome glory. Yes, our great and powerful God should always be showered with praise because He undoubtedly deserves it! And no more so than for giving us the greatest gift ever, salvation and eternal life through the sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

Wow mih bredrin! If that isn’t something to give much thanks and praise for, then I don’t know what is nuh. For Jesus is all that we can ever ask for or desire! He’s our EVERYTHING! He came to earth and experienced the evil and tough times like we’re doing, was tempted just like we are, but did not sin, so He understands our predicament from personal experience, not hearsay. That’s why it’s simple common sense to turn to Jesus for help. 

And I want to leave us with a couple of appropriate scriptures that proclaim such wisdom. Both are from the Book of Hebrews. The first says we can run our race day by day: ‘Looking unto Jesus the author (originator) and finisher (perfecter) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Heb. 12:2) 

And the second scripture tells us of the sympathetic Christ. ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into (through) the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (confession of faith). For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (our weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:14-16) 

Yes precious saints of Christ, that’s why we can look to Jesus for grace and mercy to live each day as we ought to, in His name, doing His work, diligently and excellently! Much LOVE!

…if yuh not turning to Jesus for help…then yuh being foolish… 

Today​’s Scrip-Bit 1 April 2019 Ephesians 5:20.

Ephesians 5:20.   ​   Giving thanks ALWAYS for ALL things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 

And so we continue round the merry go round of our work life once again, as Monday has blazoned into our consciousness on this beautiful and sunny day in sweet Tobago! Glory to God! I’m truly sorry to hear that you all had snow in my area in the northern climes yesterday, but them’s the breaks, that’s what the northern climes are all about! (smile) 

Hope you didn’t have to trudge and drive through any snow to get to work this morning while I blessedly sit here writing on the porch, listening to the birds chirp their sweet songs of thanksgiving, admire the beautiful flora and listen to the sea lap gently and playfully on the rocky shore line. No, don’t be jealous! Let your Christian nature take hold and be glad for me, seeing that I have not enjoyed such blessings in a number of years! (smile) 

Oh don’t worry, I know it’s hard not to be envious when one of your associates is enjoying fair weather while you are experiencing the foul kind! But wherever we are in this fine universe of God’s, it’s Monday and we need to get out and labour to provide the necessities of life for our families and ourselves. And regardless of how hard we try, somehow we still always get fouled up by Monday’s. I guess it’s just the nature of the beast. 

But thankfully we have an antidote for all of our Monday morning ailments, called the Monday Morning Battle Hymn, and it just chases away all those dark and cloudy Monday skies. So let’s raise our voices and declare it (chuh- wrong again!) in sincere faith, with as much enthusiasm as we can muster: 

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

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

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

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

Ah friends, what a quick and pleasant change sincere prayer can make in our sad and miserable spirits eh! It’s simply the awesome power of God! The amazing solution that He has developed to right our spirits; those who believe in Him and His Son Jesus Christ! For if you don’t believe in them, then NONE of what we’re talking about will work! 

As this quote from a Daily Bread Devotional so truly declares (right ho!) ‘Grateful praise satisfies us and pleases God!’ Yes my people, both parties are satisfied with words uttered in praise and thanksgiving; it corrects our spirits, and it pleases God, who made us most of all to be a source of vital communication, through praise and thanksgiving. 

No wonder Bruh Paul informed the Ephesian church thus: ‘Giving thanks ALWAYS for ALL things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ And there are no truer words than those to be found in our faith my people! And Bruh Paul said the same basic thing to the Colossians: ‘And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by him. (Col.3:17) 

 And the scholars have this to say about that verse: ‘3:17. The beneficial influence produced by the indwelling word of Christ is not only to affect public and private worship (vs.16), but it is also to control ALL areas of a Christian’s life.’ Yuh see that friends, thanks and praise and the Word of God are to be the mainstays in a believer’s life! 

You can’t be running around crazily with and longing for the things of the world, ignoring Almighty God, your Creator and Provider and expect to flourish, either in this life or the one to come! And you’ll notice too that even Jesus, the Son of God gave thanks. Check out when He fed the four thousand with seven loaves of bread and a few fishes: ‘And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks…’ (Matt.15:36) 

And He did the same thing when He fed the five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fishes. ‘Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.’ (Luke 9:16) Yes friends, Jesus knew where His bread was buttered; in heaven, at the Father’s throne, and the only reason He could do those miracles is because He looked to the Father and also gave thanks! 

And if Jesus needed to do that, then how much more we mere sinful mortals need to come to the throne of grace in humility and thanksgiving eh? Even when Jesus initiated the holy act of communion in His remembrance; ‘He took bread and blessed it…And He took the cup, and gave thanks…’ (Matt.26:26-27) 

Not much more to say friends, except to add Bruh Paul’s directive 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) Now as obedient children of God, let’s go out and do exactly that today nuh! Much LOVE!

…continue in prayer…and watch in the same…with thanksgiving…

Todays Scrip-Bit 12 November 2018 Psalm 119:176.

Psalm 119:176.   I have gone astray like a lost sheep: seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

Wonders never cease mih breddren! Monday has quickly rolled around again…Praise the Lord! (smile) And some miserable, disturbed body is wondering why we praising the Lord for Monday? Well because we’re alive and kicking; we have strong, healthy families, a roof over our heads, and food on our table, and a job to go to that pays us money so we can sustain our earthly lives…and I can go on and on. 

But what we need to thank God most for on this Monday morning is that we have Jesus! Bless His Holy Name! Yes friends, please bless that name that’s above all other names, for without Him we might have some of the worldly stuff we now have, but we wouldn’t have salvation and the glorious promise of eternal life. And that’s worth more than anything in this world. 

So instead of griping about having to go to work, let’s look on the other side of the coin and consider those who don’t have  a decent livelihood, and would just LOVE to have what we have. So let’s be thankful for all that we have and are, and if we feeling a bit low and down in the dumps this morning, then please  join us as we raise our voices in prayerful song to heaven, soulfully and sincerely declaring our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

In unison 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!’ 

Yes my fellow believers, that will cure all your Monday morning ills! And I have to laugh because, as always, the loudest and croakiest voices were those of the people who do not have to go to work today. It’s not a full public holiday, but for some, because Remembrance Day fell on a Sunday, they get the following day off. 

And for those of you who have already begun celebrating, getting into your cups, judging from your hoarse voices, please remember Granny’s warning: ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober please mind yuh business.’ That’s wonderful advice friends. And yuh know what the ole people say about that? ‘Good advice doh break no bone.’ Gospel truth that! And I just happened to hear it in a calypso on the radio yesterday afternoon. And all it basically means is that you can’t go wrong with good advice. 

So now that everybody’s up and about, in good spirits, LOVING Jesus and each other, let’s concentrate on doing His will nuh, whatever plan(s) He has for each of our lives on this November day. And we going to follow some more good advice from the psalmist, that surely won’t break any bones, but more likely mend them, as we humbly cry out in our Bit to the Lord: ‘I have gone astray like a lost sheep: seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.’  

And is that ever the truth my people! So many of us have strayed from the straight and narrow path like, dumb, lost sheep, it’s not funny. And the only way to get back on the straight and narrow is for the Lord to search us out and bring us back. 

And it’s not like we have forgotten His commandments, but for one reason or another, we’ve let them slide. And that’s not very wise. And sadly, we’ve been doing that for a very long time, which led Isaiah through God’s Spirit, to pen: ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ (Is.53:6) 

Yes friends, mankind was in a desperate condition, totally sinful, lost without a Saviour, until the Lord laid our heavy and abominable sins on the strong shoulders of Christ, the ONLY ONE who had the parts to bear them. And Jesus willingly took our sinful burden and compassionately gave us His righteousness in return. Wow! What an awesome Saviour He is! 

As He said: ‘For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.’ (Matt.18:11)  And also: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And that is exactly what He did my brethren; gave His sinless life for our sinful ones! 

That’s why we ought to be everlastingly grateful to Him! He could have refused, but He knew that He was the ONLY hope for mankind, and He just could not refuse the Father’s request, because He knew how much the Father LOVED us, and it would break His heart if He lost even one sheep to the enemy. So let’s have no more questions about why we should praise God and thank Him for Jesus on this cold November morning! Just do it! (smile) Much LOVE!

…without the Good Shepherd Jesus… the dumb sheep…mankind…would be lost in hellfire for ever…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 April 2018 Psalm 9:7.

Psalm 9:7.   The Lord also will be a refuge (stronghold) for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

‘I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Oh my fellow believers, what better way is there to begin this first Sunday after Easter than with the encouraging words of Bruh David eh? None really! 

And I do hope that we all will be glad to go to the Lord’s sanctuary today to give Him thanks and praise and receive His awesome renewal of our souls and spirits through the reading of His word and our fellowship with other believers, so that we can continue to do His work with exceeding diligence and excellence in this evil and ungodly society. What a mouthful! (smile) But a truthful mouthful. 

And as always, we’ll begin with some praise and worship to soften up our hearts, so that the Lord’s word can quietly and easily seep into all its nooks and crannies and revive us. Glory to God my brethren, for there is none like Him! Therefore let’s raise our voices to high heaven in sacrificial praise as we sing the golden oldie hymn, ‘Rock of Ages.’ It’s a hymn based on the theme of refuge, and today we’re seeking refuge in our great God. 

All together now people: ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure. Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die. While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyes shall close in death, When I rise to worlds unknown, And behold Thee on Thy throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.’

Ah friends, there is no place of greater safety and refuge than under the mighty wings of our omnipotent God, as our Bit and the verse following it testify. ‘The Lord also will be a refuge (stronghold) for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord hast not forsaken them that seek thee.’ (Ps.90-10) 

Oh precious people of God, that’s gospel truth and wisdom to the nth level!  And Bruh David is talking about us there; the ones who wisely put their trust in Almighty God! Glory be my people! Now that theme of refuge and stronghold being found in God is a constant in Bruh David’s writings. Let’s look at some of them. 

In Psalm 32 – The blessedness of forgiveness, he powerfully proclaims: ‘Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about (surround me) with songs of deliverance.   Selah.’ (Ps.32:7) 

Meanwhile in Psalm 46 – God is our refuge and strength – Bruh David opens with this bold declaration: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present (an abundantly available) help in time of trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst (the heart) of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.   Selah.’ (Ps.46:1-3) 

Wow! What powerful and trustworthy sentiments my fellow believers! I do hope that all of us gathered here today can express them as sincerely and powerfully, for it is only when we have that kind of faith, trust and security in our heavenly Father, that we can walk this evil and cruel earth with true courage. 

And lastly, in Psalm 62 – God only is my rock and my salvation – Bruh David declares in no uncertain terms: ‘Truly my soul waiteth (waits silently) upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense (strong tower); I shall not be greatly moved (shaken)…In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.’ (Ps.62:1-3, 7).  

Yes mih breddren, Bruh David was very sure of the One in whom he placed his trust; the Creator and Controller of the universe. And likewise, so should we. But just in case we don’t, or we’re not sure, let’s take this wise and very timely advice from Bruh David. ‘Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.   Selah.’ (Ps.62:8) And that’s the indisputable truth! 

So let’s go home this morning refreshed and lifted up my fellow believers, with God joyfully filling every inch of our hearts, bodies and souls, as our heavenly Father desires. Much LOVE!

…wisdom, common sense and logic…all dictate that we put our trust…in the One who created the universe and all therein…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 March 2018 Psalm 23:1.

Psalm 23:1.   The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

It’s time once again friends for our weekly rejuvenation; meaning it’s the Lord’s Day and we need to go to His sanctuary to get oiled and lubed, (smile) so we can handle the upcoming week’s affairs with strength, faith, hope and confidence. 

Oh by the way, for those of us who live in the Daylight Savings Time zones, please be reminded that the clocks went back one hour tonight, which means that church will held an hour earlier. So please don’t miss it by pleading ignorance of the time change. (smile) I won’t put it past many of you to do so. 

And as always, before we hear the Lord’s word, we offer up sacrifices of praise and worship, letting our heavenly Father know that we certainly do adore, glorify, exalt and LOVE Him. Today we’ll sing one of the most well-known and heartwarming passages in the Good Book – Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd. 

Those immortal words of Bruh David had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. They are too meaningful and applicable to our earthly lives to have simply come from a man’s finite mind. But be that as it may, let’s raise our voices in sweet adoration and wonderful harmony, as we lift up those words to heaven, words written so long ago, but which still retain their awesome power even to this day. 

‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 

Thou preparest a table in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen!’ 

Oh friends, did you feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving in your individual soul and felt like He was present everywhere in the sanctuary, just enveloping us all with His amazing and unconditional LOVE?  I surely did! But what a mighty work of God that Psalm is! Almost every believer knows it, and/or has used it in some tough and unforgiving times.  

And the opening verse, our Bit: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,’ is so all encompassing and comforting that I don’t where or how to start describing it, so I’ll just share the scholar’s explanation. ‘Psalm 23. The psalm has been a favourite of God’s people through the ages with due reason: it expresses as simply and clearly as any the role of God as our protector and provider in life. 

The charm of the psalm rests on two figures of speech: the Lord is compared to a shepherd and the believer to His sheep (vs.1-4); then the Lord is likened to a host with the believer as the guest (vs.5-6). The image of the Lord as shepherd is a frequent one in both the Old Testament (Is.40:11; Jer.31:10) and the New Testament (John10:11-16; Heb.13:20). 

Believers are never pictured in Scripture as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on their Shepherd for His provision and protection. The believer is more than a dependent sheep; however, he is also like and honoured guest, since the Lord prepares a table for him (v.5). 

Connected with this honoured position is abundant provision, vindication before one’s enemies, and eternal celebration of God’s goodness.’ 

Wow mih people! In what other faith can you have all of that goodness and LOVING-kindness eh? NONE WHATSOEVER! Only if you are a believer in Jesus can you have a Deity, lead and guide you in safe paths, beside quiet waters, look after all your needs, down here on earth, then take you to dwell with Him eternally in heaven when your earthly sojourn is over. 

And please note my fellow believers, the life of eternity in heaven will even be better than that we experience on earth. So you can imagine how wonderful heaven must be! I doubt it, because our minds are too small to imagine it, but Jesus has promised it, and He does not renege on promises. 

Now here are a couple of those other verses above that quote God as a shepherd, starting with Isaiah. When he talks about finding comfort through trust in God ‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is.40:11) 

And here is the piece de resistance from Jesus Himself. ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ (John 10:11, 14) 

And we’ll close with these most appropriate words from the author of Hebrews: ‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect (complete) in every good work to do his will, working in you what which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Heb.13:20-21) 

And that’s my wish for all of us today, my fellow believers. Much LOVE!

…oh how blessed we are to have a wonderful shepherd like Jesus…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 December 2017 Luke 1:37.

Luke 1:37.     For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And then it was Christmas Eve! Yeh friends, Christmas Eve, the day before Christ’s birth, aren’t you excited? (smile) We should be my people, because it’s around this time two thousand years ago we received the greatest gift ever. The Son of God was born so that He could save sinful man, whom His heavenly Father LOVED with such a great LOVE that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son, so that His human creation could be saved from hell fire and damnation. 

Glory to our Most High God my brethren, for there is no other Deity who would have ever dreamed of doing something like that! So my fellow believers, on this Christmas Eve Sunday, as we gather in God’s sanctuary to praise and worship Him, to give Him thanks and exalt His holy name and receive His mercy, grace, forgiveness, strength and confidence to face the upcoming week, let’s show our sincere gratitude and overwhelming LOVE by singing our hearts out with unspeakable joy and supreme gladness. 

And the song we’re going to offer up in our sacrifice of praise is the old but ever true and much liked standard, ‘O Holy Night.’ Apparently it was originally written in French, but was later translated to English, and has the distinction of being the first Christmas Carol to ever be played on the radio in 1906. So with sincere feeling now, as we raise our voices to high heaven. 

‘O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine! Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here came the wise men from Orient land. 

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our Friend! He knows our need; to our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King; before Him lowly bend! Behold your King; before Him lowly bend! Truly He taught us to LOVE one another; His law is LOVE and His Gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His Name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy Name! His power and glory evermore proclaim! His power and glory evermore proclaim!’ 

Oh friends, what beautiful sentiments, filled with eternal truths, while offering loads of assurance for the believer. I sincerely hope that tears of joy were flowing down all our faces as we sang those exquisite words. For how could it be otherwise eh, when we’re celebrating such a joyful occasion? And friends, the whole story of Christ’s birth is so incredible, that only a superior being could have worked it out so efficiently and competently and dramatically. 

That takes us to our Bit:  ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ Those were the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, Christ’s mother, after he informed her that she would bare God’s Son through the auspices of the Holy Spirit, and that her hitherto barren cousin Elisabeth, in her old age, was also pregnant.  And what I LOVE about Mary is that despite her young age, throughout Gabriel’s information session she never got riled or overly excited. Of course she was somewhat concerned and confused as Gabriel appeared out of the blue and began to lay such weighty matters on her. Her only real question was how was she going to get pregnant without knowing a man? 

And once Gabriel explained, she was fine. ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (One) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’ (Luke 1:35) I must say that Mary was pretty mature for her age and background. If an angel suddenly appeared now and told that a teenager, she’d either run away screaming in fright, or hurl vicious and angry words at the messenger. But Mary’s response at the end of the conversation was simply: ‘Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) 

Ah friends, I’m not sure that Mary would have been so relaxed if she had known the immense heartache she would have to face by being the mother of the Son of God. But nonetheless she held up under all the stress and strain of her position fairly well. Obviously the Lord gave her the wherewithal to stand strong and face the adversity, as He does with us all, when He gives us a job to do. 

So fellow believers, on this Christmas Eve Sunday of 2017, with our world in a complete mess, let’s try and spend some serious time contemplating the mystery and the miracle of Christ’s birth, and how it affects our lives today nuh.  And consequently, what we need to do to improve our lives and the lives of those around us, because if we are to be true followers of Jesus, and for His birth, death and resurrection to truly mean something, then we should always be in the process of becoming more Christ-like and setting a good Christian example to others. That’s Christ’s desire and our bounden duty. Much LOVE!

…ALL things are possible with God…you just have to study Christ’s life to see it…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 October 2016 1 Samuel 30:6b.

1 Samuel 30:6b.    …but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Okay friends, this Sunday morning let’s begin our praise and worship with this joyous hymn, penned by Charles Wesley. It’s one we all know and treasure, so let’s raise our voices to the heavens in harmony and true surrender, believing what we sing. 

All together now: ‘LOVE divine, all LOVES excelling, Joy of heaven to earth come down; Fix in us thy humble dwelling; All thy faithful mercies crown! Jesus, Thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded LOVE Thou art; Visit us with Thy salvation; Enter every trembling heart. 

Breathe, O breathe Thy LOVING Spirit, Into every troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit; Let us find that second rest. Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its Beginning, Set our hearts at liberty. Come, Almighty to deliver, Let us all Thy life receive; Suddenly return and never, Never more Thy temples leave. 

Thee we would be always blessing, Serve Thee as Thy hosts above, Pray and praise Thee without ceasing, Glory in Thy perfect love. Finish, then, Thy new creation; Pure and spotless let us be. Let us see Thy great salvation  Perfectly restored in Thee; Changed from glory into glory, Till in heaven we take our place, Till we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, LOVE and praise.’ 

Ah mih people, what a beautiful hymn! And it resonates with so many practical aspects of our faith, of our everyday lives. For instance it talks about, ‘take away our bent for sinning.’ Now I can’t think of a better desire than that!  Then we sang ‘set our hearts at liberty.’ Oh how good that would be – freedom from the restrictive chains of sin! 

And then we’d truly be a ‘new creation… changed from glory to glory…lost in’ the awesome wonder that’s Jesus, as we serenade and praise Him with true LOVE! 

Oh friends, I guess that’s what you’d call the perfect Christian. Unfortunately though, too many of us don’t even come close to being perfect. For one thing we still speak with forked tongues, and still desire to wallow in the mire of the things of the world, instead of the things of Jesus. 

Remember, we’re just supposed to be in the world, but not a part of it. And that can sometimes get difficult and confusing, but please remember too that our lives are in the best hands that exist – Almighty God’s. And nothing is too hard or too difficult for Him to do on our behalf. 

So when the pressures of life get to us, we feel all alone on a desert island and no human help seems to be forthcoming, it’s Jesus we need to turn to. We need to do as our Bit says: ‘but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’ 

Yes friends, when Bruh David’s people wanted to stone him because their families had been taken captive and their city burnt, he had no alternative but to encourage himself in the Lord, to let his faith rise up and seek God’s strength and wisdom.  

The Good Book tells us: ‘And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.’ (1 Sam.30:8) And so said, so was it done! 

Bruh David pursued the marauding Amalekites with his six hundred men, but along the way, at the brook Besor, he left two hundred behind who were too weak and faint to go on. And as the Lord would have it, they found a young Egyptian slave whom the enemy had left behind because he was sick, and after feeding and reviving him and promising not to slay him, he led them to the Amalekites camp. 

‘And when he (the slave) had brought him (David) down, behold they (the Amalekites) were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. 

And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels and fled. And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives.’ (1 Sam.30:16-18) 

Yuh see friends what is possible when we totally surrender our lives to the Lord and place our complete trust in Him. If Bruh David had just sat around moaning and groaning like the rest of his men, they might probably have ended up stoning him. But instead, ‘he encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’  And why wouldn’t he eh? He’d be rather foolish not to, after all the wonders and miracles that the Lord had previously done in his life? 

Now that’s where a lot of us fall down my people. When times get real rough, we tend to forget God’s promises and all that He’s already done for us. But that’s the time when we need to remember His many blessings and mercies, so that our faith can be lifted, our trust in Him strengthened, and our circumstances turned around through His wise guidance. 

And I want to close with this example of Bruh David’s godliness and generosity.  After they defeated the Amalekites and returned with all the spoil, the selfish ones who had fought declared that the two hundred, who had remained at the brook of Besor, should only get back their families and none of the spoil. 

But Bruh David overruled them. ‘Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.’(1 Sam.30:23) Then he made it a law from henceforth that all should share in the spoils of war. He also sent some of the spoil back to the people of Judah who had suffered at the hands of the Amalekites. 

And the scholars offer an interesting take on Bruh David’s doings there. ’30:26-31. David’s sharing of the spoils of the victory over the Amalekites not only assured them of his gratitude for their friendship and help during his days of flight from the presence of Saul, but would convince his allies of his loyalty, despite the time spent with Achish (the Philistine king). Moreover, it would prepare their hearts for his soon-coming kingship.’  

Ah friends, that’s what Christianity is all about; integrity, character and sharing the spoils God has blessed you with, especially if you’re a leader! Much LOVE!

…true faith means…never giving up…even under the greatest adversity…because our God is always there to help us…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 October 2016 Romans 8:37.

Romans 8:37.    Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us.

Once again it’s Sunday friends – the day of the Lord – so let’s begin our celebrations of praise, worship and thanksgiving with a wise and sensible hymn titled ‘I choose Jesus.’  What can be wiser than that eh? Absolutely nothing! 

So let’s raise our voices in glorious song. ‘When I need someone in time of grief, Someone my cheer to be, Jesus I choose, for He gives relief, He is the best for me. (Refrain) – I choose Jesus when I need a friend, What I need I know that He will send; I have proved Him, good and true is He; I choose Jesus, He is the best for me.  

When I need someone to guide my soul Over the stormy sea, Always to Jesus I give control, He is the best for me. (Refrain) When I need help to defeat the foe, Someone my shield to be, Always to Jesus in faith I go, He is the best for me. (Refrain) 

When all my trials on earth are o’er, And the dark stream I see, Jesus shall bear me to yonder shore, He is the best for me. (Refrain) I choose Jesus when I need a friend, What I need I know that He will send; I have proved Him, good and true is He; I choose Jesus, He is the best for me.’ 

Oh my people what awesome words of truth and wisdom! Jesus is our everything; our be all and end all! Whatever we need we can find in Him, all we have to do is surrender our lives to Him. Then He comes in and takes control of our lives; leads and guides us along the straight and narrow path through the poignant and comforting power of the Holy Spirit. 

Yeh friends, all we need is Jesus. As our Bit so rightly declares: ‘Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us.’ 

Yes my fellow believers, through Jesus sacrifice on the cross at Calvary, His glorious resurrection and ascension, we have been redeemed, justified, sanctified and become conquerors over the evil powers that be.  

Hear how Bruh Paul puts it to the Corinthians in his first missive to them. ‘The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain (futile) in the Lord.’ (1 Cor. 15: 56-58) 

Ah friends, what wonderful words of encouragement and reassurance this Sunday morning! Words of indisputable truth! Through God’s eternal LOVE for us and His sacrifice of His sinless Son, we have been granted victory over the evil twins of sin and death. Glory Hallelujah! 

But please note that everything doesn’t just fall in our laps without any sweat from us. We still need to be strong and faithful, full of plenty belly and backbone, and do God’s work, for once we diligently keep keeping on in faith, we will be well rewarded eventually. 

Sadly though, that is where a lot of us fall down. We allow the trials and tribulations and temptations of this world to wear us down so that we aren’t of much use to Christ and His LOVE Revolution. That’s very unfortunate my brethren, because Christ is depending on us to be His foot soldiers, His ambassadors in the battle with the evil forces that are fighting against Him for world supremacy. 

But we can’t be strong and faithful unless we continually read His word and meditate on it, as well as have meaningful communication with Him through constant prayer, and fellowship regularly with other believers. 

So if you find that your faith is slipping, please go to God for help through the means we’ve just outlined. Pour out your heart to Him and let Him comfort and strengthen you. That’s the only way to be reinvigorated with His awesome blessing, mercies and grace. 

But getting back to our topic, listen to Bruh Paul in his second missive to the Corinthians, as he talks about being triumphant in Christ. ‘Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to (leads us in) triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour (fragrance) of his knowledge by us in every place. 

For we are unto God a sweet savour (the fragrance) of Christ, in (among) them that are saved, and in (among) them that perish. To the one we are the savour (aroma) of death unto death; and to the other the savour (aroma) of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many who corrupt (peddle by trickery) the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of (from) God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.’ (2 Cor. 2: 14-17)  

Yeh friends, in usual Bruh Paul fashion those statements are somewhat convoluted, but the scholars offer us some explanations. ‘2:14-17. Triumph (cf. Col.2:9-15): The imagery conveyed in the use of this term is of the Roman general who marched in victory with his entourage, consisting of two groups: them that are saved…and them that perish. 

The former group referred to those allowed to live as slaves of the empire. The latter group comprised the condemned, who were being led to their death. Each group carried burning incense. The one was, verse 16, a savour of death unto death, the other was a fragrance of life unto life. 

Calvary was the mighty display of the infinite power of a sovereign God. The human race was divided into two categories, those of life unto life and those of death unto death.’ (2 Cor.2:14-17) 

Hope that explanation helps us to better understand what Bruh Paul is talking about. In ending friends, all I can say is ‘Glory to God, through Christ Jesus, that we ended up in the life unto life group!’ Much LOVE!

…who completely destroyed the prince of evil…JESUS…who had victory over hell, death and the grave…JESUS… who saved our sinful souls…Jesus…praise His holy name…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 December 2013 Psalm 89:1

Psalm 89:1.   I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
 
Oh Friends, at last my neck of the woods has received its first big snowfall of the season! Granted, it’s not as big as some of those experienced up north, or in places like Dallas and Philly recently, but it’s certainly big enough to get me going. (smile)
 
You know we’ve become so spoiled over the last few years with comparatively small quantities of snow in the winter time, that when we do get a fairly large amount, some of us get sort of traumatized. (smile) But we need to remember that this is the North Country, good old Canada, where in these days of climate change, anything is possible.
 
And though the snow made the roads slippery and icy, people were still driving as though they were clean and dry. I guess there will always be the impetuous, impatient and foolish amongst us.
 
I drove my wife’s car instead of mine because hers has on snow tires and mine doesn’t, but I don’t know if that was any better, because I feel more comfortable in mine, and on two stretches of relatively clean, clear, straight road, not going very fast, I still had two small skids, possibly meaning that there was black ice on the road, although it looked okay.
 
And the amazing thing is that there were still oodles of vehicles on the road. One would think because it was Saturday, with not as many people having to go to work, and the snow still falling, the roads would be fairly empty. I was only out there because I had to be.
 
Anyway, enough of my rambling about the snow, for it’s still out there, it’s still mucho cold, and nothing I say or do will change that. (smile) So let’s turn to something that we have some say in, our Bit; most likely on its last legs today.
 
‘I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.’
 
Now that my Friends, is something we have much control over! And isn’t it just great to praise and worship our wonderful God, and tell others about Him? It sure is, especially on a Sunday when many of us gather in church to fellowship and sing His endless praises.
 
Oh my people, today when we raise our voices in praise and worship, let’s make it something extremely special nuh, let’s raise the roofs on our sanctuaries! Let the feeling of acclamation come truly from the depths of our souls!
 
Let’s get in agreement with the psalmist, Ethan the Ezrahite, as he proudly proclaims: ‘And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord?
 
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had (held) in reverence of all them that are about him.’ (Ps. 89:5-7)
 
And in total agreement, all God’s people shouted a loud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord!’
 
Yes my Friends, there is NONE mightier or more worthy of praise than the ONE TRUE GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Creator and Controller of this mighty universe!
 
And there’s absolutely no doubt about that, for as John so wisely puts it: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
 
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended (apprehended) it not.’ (John 1:1-5)
 
Ah mih breddren, what a magnificent description as it refers to Jesus and His relationship to Almighty God! No other supposed deity can lay claim to such fame, to such distinction! So please, my people, please let’s start paying Him the proper respect and reverence He so awesomely deserves nuh.
 
Not the wishy washy way too many of us currently behave towards our wonderful Lord and Saviour, who gave up His sinless life for us, so that we could be reconciled to the Father. That fact alone deserves undying gratitude and LOVE! 
 
And we’ll end with further proof and justification of His glorious majesty, through the words of His staunch disciple, Peter, as He calls for true and serious Christian dedication.
 
‘Seeing that ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned (sincere) LOVE of the brethren, see that ye LOVE one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible (perishable) seed, but of incorruptible (imperishable), by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
 
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.’ (1 Pet.1:22-25)
 
Oh Friends, I can’t put it any better than that, so I won’t even try to clarify it. I’ll just say that it would be such a pleasure, such a motivating force, if more of us could truly rise up and give Jesus His just desserts; put Him first in ALL we do, with the awe and veneration that’s His rightful due. 
 
Then His church and His LOVE Revolution would surely grow by leaps and bounds, and consequently, our world would be a much better place to dwell.
 
Let’s ponder that today Friends, and for our children’s sake, put it into action, as soon as possible. Much LOVE!
 
…to all believers…this Christmas season…let’s truly show our LOVE and adoration for Jesus…let’s truly make Him NUMBER ONE…on all the earth…as well as in heaven…