Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 May 2016 Matthew 5:16.

Matthew 5:16.    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Well my people, a new week has begun! Yes it’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the day for worshipping and praising and fellowshipping and rejuvenating our spirits at God’s sanctuary, or wherever two or three of God’s children choose to gather! 

That’s the beauty of our faith; we don’t have to meet in a physical building, although that’s nice, but we can meet anywhere at all, under any conditions, and still invoke the Spirit of Christ to lead us in praise and worship. 

Neither do we have to always meet in great numbers, although that too would be desirable, but we can have church with only two or three believers. I remember doing that some years ago. On a particularly cold winter’s morn, just the priest, Rev. Anne, the lay reader and I showed up for the 8.30 service. So they called me up to the altar, and we had church. 

And you know there’s something about having church with only a few people that I like. I don’t know if it’s because there seems to be more intimacy with God and with each other. As the saying goes, there’s more room for God in an empty church. (smile) 

Anyway, enough of my rambling, let’s move along, because we have plenty stuff to share this last Sunday morning in May of 2016. And we are going to begin with this prayerful poem of Gramps Schuller (Robert H. Schuller) from his Hour of Power Devotional. It’s called ‘Fill Me!’ And it was so fine, I had to play it one more time. (smile) 

Please pray with me. ‘O Lord, like the thirsty deer which goes to drink from the mountain spring; like the growing flower which turns hungrily to the satisfying sun; like the empty pitcher which is carried to the fountain to be filled; so I come, O God, knowing that in this time of prayer my soul will be filled with your LOVE and your truth. Thank you! Amen.’ 

Yes Friends, we definitely need our souls to be filled with God’s LOVE and truth so that we can sincerely and successfully perform what Jesus asks of us in our Bit. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ 

Remember yesterday we spoke about being the salt of the earth and the light of the world; our condition and our mission? Well that salt and light ought to morph into good works which will glorify, exalt, and raise the esteem of our heavenly Father. The unbeliever will see our faithful service and thus come to embrace the living Christ as their Lord and Saviour too. 

Now Jesus, as is His wont, is putting it nicely to us here my fellow believers, but He didn’t have to, because that’s our bounden duty, it’s our main purpose here on earth, why we were created in the first place; to have fellowship with God, to glorify and exalt Him with our truly Christian conduct and consequently lead others to Him. 

And I hope that we sincerely pondered our individual situations on the subject as I asked, and then prayed to God for help to rectify and/or improve our personal testimonies of being salt and light in a dark, bland and evil world. 

Oh my people, it’s ever so important that we let our lights shine brilliantly wherever we are so that Jesus’ LOVE Revolution can grow, and we can spread the good news of His gospel to the entire world as He commanded in the Great Commission. 

‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always(s), even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20) 

Yes friends, all of that is included in being salt and light on God’s great earth! 

Now hear how Peter puts it when he talks about living as servants of God. ‘Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 

Having your conversation (conduct) honest (honourable) among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

Submit yourselves to every ordinance (institution) of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors; as unto them sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 

For so is the will of God that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness (evil), but as the servants of God. Honour all men, LOVE the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.’ (1 Pet.2:11-17) 

Yes my brethren, that’s basically how we as Christians, followers of Christ, ought to live! Submit to authority, have a kind heart to everyone, especially to fellow believers, and above all, honour, reverence, fear, glorify and exalt Almighty God, our Creator and Provider! 

Now, as we all know, it’s not easy living sincerely and successfully for Christ in this evil world, filled with numerous lusts and temptations, but if we walk and talk and be led by the Holy Spirit of God that dwells within us, we can make a positive difference in the world. 

And yuh know friends, that’s all Jesus really desires of us; to make a positive difference in our earthly sojourn, no matter how small and seemingly negligible it might be. We can’t all be worldly movers and shakers, but we can ALL be effective believers and doers of the Word in our small spheres of influence. So let’s do it nuh. Much LOVE!

…even the smallest good deed in Christ’s name…will be well rewarded by our heavenly Father…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 April 2016 Exodus 33:14

Exodus 33:14.   And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

Awright my fellow believers, it’s the first day of the week; Sunday, the Lord’s Day, that means we need to be making our way to church at some stage of the day, to praise and worship and rejoice and fellowship with other believers. Now that’s not my directive, but our God’s.  (Ex.20:8-11) 

So if we want to be truly obedient then we will gladly do His will and don’t behave like it’s pulling teeth, like we’re being forced to go, and if we don’t, hellfire and brimstone might fall down on us. Now it just might… (smile)  

But please remember friends, this is for our good, not for God’s. He already has all He wants, and whether we praise and worship Him or not, will not change His situation, but it will surely change ours. 

So let’s stop being, stubborn, hardhearted and foolish and get ourselves to the Lord’s sanctuary, so that we can receive His blessings, mercy, encouragement, LOVE and revitalization to face tomorrow and the rest of the week strong and steadfast. 

And all God’s children declared a loud and proud shout of ‘Praise the Lord! Bless His Holy Name! All power and glory be unto Him!’ 

Ah mih people, what’s happening to our faith today eh? There seems to be more churches of different denominations, or no denomination, than ever before, but overall the total number of worshippers doesn’t seem to be increasing that much. What seems to be happening is that believers are leaving one church for another, so while some churches are packed to capacity, others are almost empty, especially of the youth of our society. 

It also seems that the youth of today can’t handle the staid, dirge-like, old fashioned worship of the established churches, and when they do go to church are opting for the more modern, new-fangled style of worship. Now that is something the established churches will have to figure out if they intend to survive this boomer generation. They’ll definitely have to invoke God’s wisdom and discernment to fix that problem. 

But enough preamble, let’s turn to our Bit. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’ 

Oh friends, whenever we sincerely seek the Lord and diligently try to be obedient to His will, His presence surrounds us like a warm, protective blanket in the heart of winter. Hn! Many of us could use one of those blankets right about now, as the cold weather refuses to depart in peace from the northern climes. (smile) 

Now let’s turn to some scripture to corroborate the words of our Bit. Hear Bruh David from Psalm 51 – A prayer for cleansing – after Nathan the prophet had draped him up for his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. 

He cries out to God for mercy and cleansing, admitting his sin: ‘Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right (steadfast) spirit within me. 

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free (generous) spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.’ (Ps.51:7-13) 

Oh precious people, can you imagine the state Bruh David must have been in when he realized that God had marked his selfish and foolish abominations, after He had been so good and generous to him. Note his words in verse 11: ‘Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.’ He knew how essential it was to be in God’s presence, with His Holy Spirit leading him. Without those two things, he might as well be dead.  

And on a more current and sadder note, I recently read in the newspapers about Glen Campbell’s losing fight with Alzheimer’s disease. We all remember him from his hit making days, with songs like ‘Rhinestone Cowboy, By the time I get to Phoenix,’ and my personal favourite ‘Gentle on my mind.’ 

Now, at age 79, he’s living in a memory care community in Nashville, apparently not even able to play the guitar anymore. How sad. But his wife Kim had this to say: ‘Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. I’m so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of this illness, it’s evident that he has retained his awareness of God. 

There have been times when he’d walk over to the window and look at the beautiful trees outside, and he’d just raise his hands and say, “Thank you, heavenly father.” He could barely speak at all, but he could come up with “We’re so blessed,” or “Thank you heavenly father.” 

That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of God’s presence in his life, that he’s not alone, even if I’m not right next to him.’ 

And all God’s people said, ‘Amen.’ 

Let’s hope and pray friends, that any of us who head down that sad and lonely road, will also feel the comforting presence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, even though we can’t put it into words. 

Now let’s end with these immortal words of Bruh David from Psalm 139 – The everlasting presence and power of God. And every time I read the words or hear it spoken, I remember the most memorable reading of it I’ve ever heard, that by Gramps Schuller (Robert H. Schuller) one day from the Crystal Cathedral. The way he acted it out, it got stuck in my mind forever. 

Listen to these most appropriate words. ‘Whither shall (can) I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall (can) I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 

If I say, surely the darkness shall cover (fall on, hide) me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.’ (Ps.139:7-12) 

And all of that is gospel truth friends! We can’t run nor hide from God, even if we are foolish enough to try. So please, today, let’s go about obediently doing His will nuh, for it’s in our best interest to do so. Much LOVE!

…to be eternally in God’s awesome presence…is why we were created…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 February 2016 Philippians 2:5‏‏‏

Philippians 2:5.        Let this mind be in you, which also was in Christ Jesus.

Well friends and neighbours, it’s Thursday, the second day of Lent in this watershed year of 2016. Yes my people, I do believe that 2016 will be a very important year in mankind’s history; it will either make or break us. 

But even better than that my people, the world is unfurling exactly as it should; exactly as the script was penned by our omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present God, many many moons ago. Glory to God! 

And so it should be, because the Almighty is the greatest dramatist ever! The Bible, right from the beginning in Genesis, to the very end in Revelation, is filled with all kinds of drama; good, bad and ugly, so we couldn’t want for a better script to show us how life runs, or is supposed to run. 

And today I want to share a li’l bit of solid info from Gramps Schuller’s (Robert H. Schuller) Hours of Power Devotional. Listen up: ‘The Bible makes it very clear that Christians are soldiers – not tourists in life. We are also servants of God, not houseguests.’ 

Yes friends, for those of us who believe we’re just here to enjoy life without any work or effort on our part, please be warned that that is not so! 

We have a big role to play in setting up Christ’s church, fighting tooth and nail to make the LOVE Revolution a wonderful and winning reality. And as such, we can’t afford to sit on our laurels and expect to be waited on hand and foot, instead, we have to do a lot of the waiting ourselves. 

Now pray this prayer with me that Gramps Schuller finishes the devotion with. ‘Father, I turn these minutes over to you. Do something beautiful in my mind, in my heart, and in my life today. So I will look back and say: “I was caught up on an inspiring spirit of the eternal God in this moment of prayer.” In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.’ 

And if we sincerely prayed that prayer my people, then beautiful things will happen in our lives today as the Holy Spirit touches us with inspiration and encouragement! Oh glory to God from whom all mercies flow! 

Now re my activities of yesterday, the ole fella played tourist. Hn! I got up in the morning and just felt this urge to visit the town of Plymouth, the island’s capital before Scarborough. It’s not too far from where I am, all on the flat side of the island, so after lunch, the duchess and I headed out to do the tourista thing. 

We drove through the villages of Buccoo, Black Rock and Grafton before we came to Plymouth. And in line with the tourist thinking, we visited Fort James, one of the several forts set up on the island by its early colonial rulers. 

On a point of interest, I believe Tobago is called the ‘Bone of Contention,’ because of the many different colonial powers who ruled it at some time in the cantankerous era of early colonialism. Anyway, from its promontory one can get a beautiful view of that part of the island. 

And not to be amiss, we also visited the ‘Mystery Tombstone,’ located just before the entrance to the fort. It has always been a talking point and tourist attraction since I was a youth. I have inserted two photos, one of the sign and one of the tomb itself. Hope they come out properly. 

But just in case they don’t, the mystery part is the inscription on the tomb that says: ‘She was a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting her husband know it except by her kind indulgences to him.’ 

Now you too can go out and ponder the words on the tombstone of Betty Stiven which have perplexed mankind for over two centuries. (smile) 

However my brethren, it’s now time for our rather timely Bit. ‘Let this mind be in you, which also was in Christ Jesus.’ 

And friends, as we’ve been saying over the last few days, it is of the utmost importance and a vital necessity that followers of Christ, Christians, the church, Christ’s body or organization here on earth think like Him, if we expect to become like Him! That’s gospel truth! 

And today we’ll continue with Bruh Paul’s treatise on the subject. After our Bit, he notes with assurance: ‘Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Phil.2:6-8) 

Oh my people, that is exactly what we were talking about before, where Gramps Schuller informed us that we were not tourists but soldiers in Christ’s army, and not houseguests, but servants in his household. It’s what Jesus came to earth and did, despite His godly connections. 

Now here are some scholarly explanations on verse 7, re ‘Kenosis.’ ‘2:7. The word Kenosis is the Greek word for “emptying” and is related to the verb translated here as “made himself of no reputation,” which literally means “He emptied Himself.” Christ emptied Himself by (1) veiling His glory and (2) taking on Himself a true but sinless human nature, and (3) voluntarily submitting to the will of the Father. 

Illustration: At all times, Christ remained God, retaining the nature and attributes of God, but taking a human nature in order to have a ministry among men. On the few occasions when His glory was more fully revealed during His ministry, those who saw it were unable to bear it. (cf. Matt.17:6; the transfiguration; John 18:6; His betrayal by Judas and His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane). 

Application: The apostle Paul urges that the attitude of humility (which led to the kenosis) ought to characterize every Christian (v.5). (First Ref. Phil.2:7; Primary Ref. Phil.2:7; cf. John 1:14).’ 

Oh friends, this morning I want to leave us with that same advice; let’s do some kenosis nuh; let’s empty ourselves of all the haughtiness and foolish pride that so often consumes us, and let’s take on the humility of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, as we ought to. For that is indeed the zenith of wisdom. Much LOVE

…humility and servant-hood…two of the signs of a true Christian…