Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 March 2020 Isaiah 59:2.

Isaiah 59:2.    ​But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

 

As the Genius – Ray Charles, would sing: ‘Here we go again. Another day of Coronavirus lockdown again… Wonder when this live play, this serious tragedy, will end? Oh, by the minute, it just seems to be getting worse…No light at the end of the tunnel yet!’ Ah friends, it is indeed a pretty rough and serious situation, but please remember that we worship the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator and Controller of the universe! And He has promised us that we should not fear, for anything that comes against us, He will be right there to guide, lead and accompany us through it. 

Remember these awesome words of promise declared through His prophet, Isaiah. ‘But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon (scorch) thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour; I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.’ (Is.43:1-3) 

Yes friends, though Israel deliberately rejected the Lord as their king, He yet reassured them of His eventual redemption from earthly spiritual and physical bondage, as well as that to come in eternity. And He has kept His promise to one and all, including we, the Gentiles, by sending His one and only Son Jesus to die for our sins and redeem us. But as it was from the day our forefathers sinned in the Garden of Eden and listened to the voice of the evil serpent, sin has separated us from our Holy God. And sometimes, when we get so sinful and corrupt on a national, and like now, a worldwide basis, the Lord has to remind us of our very unbecoming behaviour, which He won’t tolerate forever. 

Listen to His words to Israel, through Isaiah again. ‘Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood (bloodshed), and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity (empty words), and speak lies; they conceive mischief (trouble or evil), and bring forth iniquity.’ (Is.59:1-4) 

Oh my people, just like the Israelites sins separated them from God, so do ours right now! And there’s no one around, and in their right mind who can truthfully say that our world is currently not a sinful cesspit; possibly the most sinful it’s ever been! And I don’t know why we think that other sinful societies suffered the Lord’s wrath, but we will not. And it’s amazing how the Lord could point out our iniquity through such a small and yet very dangerous germ. His ways of working are indeed very mysterious…but also very productive! (smile) 

And it’s good to see that people are taking it seriously and are remembering that God is still on His throne, still controlling things, and at least trying to turn back to Him. Enough preaching for the day though. (smile) It’s Friday, so let’s hear what the ordinary workingman has to say. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! Thank God for the Coronavirus yes…! Well not really, except for the fact that it’s my second week off work with pay, and that’s nice. But you can only take your family being always around you for just so long, then everybody begins to get on everybody else’s nerves. And you can only go around the block so often in a day. 

Steups! I’m getting stir crazy! And ah have to laugh too, because I’m actually missing work and my buddies down there. Chuh! I can only drink so much by mihself too! And the wife has definitely gone stir crazy, since she’s not accustomed to having all of us underfoot the whole bloody day, every day! And to make matters worse, all you can hear on the radio and tv and social media is about the virus; how so many people have it, and how it killing so many people. And we still don’t have no real way to fight it. No wonder people panicking! But what can I say or do in my li’l corner eh? Nothing but thank God for Fridays and weekends yes, and hope they find a cure soon!’ 

Ah friends, I’m sure a lot of people feel useless like the ordinary workingman there, but we all are useful in these trying times. And the first and most important use we can put ourselves to is that of prayer. And then if we can help anybody else in whatever safe shape or form, then please do so. And since it’s Friday, let’s chant our rejigged Friday Chant in answer to the workingman’s song. All together now, with strong voices and sincere hearts: 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. As usual, it’s been kinda rough, but a different kind of roughness than normal. All this confusion with the Covid -19 virus and the monumental storm and the seemingly unending havoc it bringing…we not accustomed to that Lord. But with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat this virus. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the  least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, and also introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now, let’s put our faith into action, as Jesus so desperately desires of us. Much LOVE!

…pray without ceasing…and remember…to give thanks too…

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 19 August 2018 John 10:10b-11.

John 10:10b-11.   I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Awright my believing brethren, what shall we say about this day eh? ‘This is the day the Lord has made we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ And what else? That this is the Lord’s Day and we WILL go to His sanctuary to give Him much praise and thanks, to celebrate our blessed lives and fellowship with others of the same belief! 

We shall also listen to His Word, let it seep into our hearts and souls, and consequently have our spirits refilled with God’s LOVE through His Holy Spirit, so that we can walk tall and strong, proud and confident, when we depart from His sanctuary! And all God’s people said a loud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

Yes friends, our God is indeed worthy to be praised! And there’s no better way to praise Him than in song: He enjoys it, and it brings the best out of us. And today’s song of praise is a favourite gospel song from a few years back, one we all know and LOVE; it’s simply but oh so meaningfully titled ‘Oh Happy Day!’ 

It was written by the gospel singer Edwin Hawkins, and first recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. Unfortunately though, Edwin Hawkins died a few weeks ago, but in conjunction with his choir, he left the world a wonderful legacy in song. I also saw a wonderful rendition of it on You Tube by Ray Charles and the Voices of Jubilation choir. Oh, Ray was so worked up that on his way off the stage he stopped at least three times and did a Happy Day dance! 

So let’s open our hearts and mouths and allow our voices to soar to high heaven with these few simple but oh so meaningful words. Remember, half the beauty of the song is in its call and response style, so let’s call and respond in all sincerity and truth nuh, letting our magnificent and magnanimous God know how deep is our joy, in having the wonderful privilege of worshipping Him. Hn! I hope that makes sense. 

But anyway, enough talk, let’s sing: ‘Oh happy day (oh happy day) Oh happy day (oh happy day) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (oh happy day) 

Oh happy day (oh happy day) He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray And live rejoicing every, everyday Oh happy day He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray And live rejoicing every, everyday Oh happy day Oh happy day (oh happy day) Oh happy day (oh happy day).’ 

Oh my fellow believers, how could we not be ecstatic eh, when Jesus washed away our sins, cleansed us with the blood He shed on Calvary? He also taught us how to watch, to fight and pray and live rejoicing every day! Glory be! We’d be foolish and ungrateful if we didn’t appreciate His stellar and selfless efforts on our behalf. 

Just look at what our Bit says: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ And that’s exactly what Jesus did my brethren! He gave His life so that we could enjoy abundant living in concert with the Father; redeemed, made righteous once again, with salvation and eternal life the end benefits. 

That means Christians ought to be the happiest people on Planet Earth…and show it in our behaviour too. For why would anyone want to come to Jesus if we claim to have so much wonderful stuff when we believe in Him, but our attitudes and demeanour are sour and miserable and definitely don’t reflect the joy we talk about so much eh? 

If our everyday lives aren’t filled with hope, happiness and heavenly thoughts and longing then we’re not true believers and/or Jesus sacrificed His sinless life in vain. Please friends, let that not be the case, because it would break both the Father and Jesus’ hearts. 

So please let’s make every day a happy day nuh; watching for His promised return; fighting the many evil enemies who want to discredit Him and turn us away. But they don’t know that when we get on our knees, both literally and figuratively, and pray to the Father in His name that the battle is as good as won! Glory Hallelujah! 

And with all of that good stuff, the rejoicing just comes naturally. Ah mih people, we have so much to look forward to when we sincerely make Jesus our Lord and Saviour. And when our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then we’re sealed forever as a child of God, our bonds are so ironclad that nothing, or no one can ever break them. That’s how powerful association with the Lord and His heavenly host is. 

So today, let’s step right up to the plate and hit the devil right out of the park for a large home run. That’ll show him to mess with Jesus’ people! Much LOVE!

…as a believer in Jesus…we’re promised joy for ever more…now who in their right senses would refuse that eh…