Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 August 2020 2 Kings 2:8.

2 Kings 2:8.     ​And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 

‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Ah friends, what a wonderful scripture that is, and I wish it could be done without any fear of repercussions, medically and governmentally, (smile) but unfortunately many of us still can’t actually, meaning physically go into God’s house and fellowship together. But when has that ever stopped God’s people from celebrating His magnificence, from worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth eh?  NEVER! Celebrating God’s goodness and mercy doesn’t need a physical place to make it real. So for those of you who can once again gather together, good for you, the rest of us will keep on gathering virtually. (smile) 

And today we’re going to begin our celebration with what the website hymnary.org tells us is ‘one of the best known African American (Negro) Spirituals in Christian history,’ the one titled ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot.’ Hold on to yuh horses a minute mih pardner Scottie, because I know that this one of your favourites. (smile) 

Let’s hear some more good info from hymnary.org. ‘On any given day, reading any newspaper or watching any daily news show, it is not hard to become despondent about the state of the world. When our friends die of disease, or our children are bullied, we cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord, how long?” And yet (for the believer, there is always a “yet”), we make this cry knowing that we have a God who hears us and responds. We are able to call out the evils of this world for what they are, because we know something better is coming. We have hope in our own salvation, and in the renewal of God’s creation. 

Thus, when we sing this great spiritual, it is important that we do so not in an escapist mentality. While we eagerly await the day we see God face to face, we must trust that until that day comes, God is fulfilling His purpose on the earth through us. We can’t sing this hymn in order to run away from the hardship and the pain. Rather, we sing this hymn as an assurance that hardship and pain is not the end. Amidst all of our trials, we know what is yet to come, both in heaven and in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, and we wait for that day expectantly.’ 

I couldn’t have said it better. And would you believe that I listened to several versions by different people, in different genres, but had to come right back to the first one: a raunchy, rocking, reggae version by Eric Clapton done way back in 1975. And if we take the words above seriously, you’ll see that this ditty has got to be sung with passion and tempo and expectancy! So let’s do just that now nuh! As one harmonious choir, after the drum roll… let’s lick it up in scintillating reggae fashion – and remember the call and answer response (smile). 

‘(Refrain: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.)  I looked over Jordan, and what did I see, coming for to carry me home? A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] If you get there before I do, coming for to carry me home; tell all my friends I’m coming too, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] I’m sometimes up, I’m sometimes down, coming for to carry me home; but still my soul feels heavenly bound, coming for to carry me home. 

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home… coming for to carry me home… swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home… coming for to carry me home.’ 

Oh mih people, mih people, that was tres magnifique! All heaven was singing and dancing with us…including the Father and the Son, because the Father likes nothing better than a rollicking song of praise! Wow! And aye Scottie – I heard you loud and clear brother! (smile) 

And here’s some more good info from hymnary.org. ‘Considered by Erik Routley to be one of the “archetypal” (perfect or typical specimen) of African American spirituals, “Swing Low” welcomes death as the occasion “to carry me home” to glory. The text incorporates the imagery of “Jordan” and “chariot” from the Old Testament narratives of Elijah’s ascent into heaven (2 Kings 2). In spite of the “ups” and “downs” of earthly life (vs. 3 above), it is comforting for Christians to know with certainty that their final destination is the glory of a new heaven and earth.’ Now it couldn’t get any better than that friends! 

And for those of you who don’t know the story, and will not read 2 Kings 2, I’ll spoon feed us a li’l bit of it. (smile). ‘And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.’ (2 Kin.2:1) And it’s amusing that all the way along to Jericho, Elijah kept telling Elisha to tarry here at whatever town they came to. But Elisha refused and went with him all the way, even to the Jordan river. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets, who had told Elisha that his master would be taken away from him that day, which Elisha already knew, stood and watched them on the banks of the Jordan. (2 Kin.2:2-7) 

‘And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither, so that they two went over on dry ground. (2 Kin.2:8) Now after they got to the other side, ‘Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken away from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 

And it came to pass as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder (separated the two of them); and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes and rent (tore) them in two pieces.’ (2 Kin. 2:9-12) 

Thus Elisha got twice as much of Elijah’s spirit ‘so that Elijah’s God-empowered spiritual activity might continue after his departure through his successor. Obviously only God could grant such a request.’ That means there is still hope for all of us friends. So please, let’s keep looking to heaven, for who knows what we might see there and the resulting consequences thereof! Much LOVE!

…with God…ALL things are possible… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 July 2020 Acts 4:12.

Acts 4:12.     ​Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
 

It’s the Sabbath Day friends! And hear what the Lord had to say about its observance through the prophet Isaiah nuh. ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places (hills) of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ (Is.58:13-14) 

Glory be mih people! That’s how important the Sabbath is to our God! So let’s be wise and do as He says nuh, so we can enjoy His delights; yuh know there’s nothing that compares to them! (smile) And as always, we begin with a song of praise and worship, today’s being the ever popular hymn ‘I Need Thee Every Hour.’ But before we get into it, here’s the story behind it, according to the website GodTube. 

Annie Sherwood Hawks was an American poet and gospel hymnist who wrote a number of hymns with her pastor, Robert Lowry. The hymn by which Hawks is most widely known, “I Need Thee Every Hour”, was written in 1872. It is said to have been translated into more foreign languages than any other modern hymn at the time of her death. Hawks stated: — “For myself, the hymn was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was wafted out to the world on the wings of LOVE and joy, instead of under the stress of personal sorrow.” 

Lowry, who wrote the music, went on to say: “I believe it was the expression of her own experience. It came to me in the form of five simple stanzas, to which I added the chorus to make it more serviceable. It inspired me at its first reading. It first appeared in a small collection of original songs prepared for the National Baptist Sunday-school Association, held in Cincinnati, Ohio in November 1872, and was sung on that occasion.” Now, knowing some of its history, let’s offer up our sacrifice of praise with strong, sincere, harmonious voices in a heartfelt and soulful rendition of this wonderful hymn. 

‘I need thee every hour, Most gracious Lord, No tender voice like thine, Can peace afford. (Chorus: I need thee oh I need thee, Every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee.) I need thee every hour, Stay thou near by, Temptations lose their power, When thou art nigh (Chorus) I need thee every hour, In joy or pain, Come quickly and abide, or life is vain. (Chorus) 

I need thee every hour; teach me thy will, and thy rich promises in me fulfill. (Chorus) I need thee every hour, Most holy one, Oh make me thine indeed Thou blessed Son. (Chorus: I need thee oh I need thee, Every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee. I need thee, Oh I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee…I come to thee…’ 

That was wonderful friends! And it is the living truth: we need Jesus so badly, that as He rightly says, without Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5) And that’s the understatement of the ages! In the first place it’s only through Him that we can be saved. As Peter so boldly informed the high priest: ‘This is the stone which was set at nought (rejected) by you builders, which is become the head of the corner (chief cornerstone). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:11-12) 

And as the scholars explain: ‘4:12. The name of Jesus Christ is the centre of contention (vs. 7, 10, 12) and ever will be. Salvation for the Jew and Gentile alike is exclusively through the name of Jesus Christ (cf. John 14:6).’ And here’s what that amazing and true scripture says: ‘Jesus saith unto him (Doubting Thomas), I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ (John 14:6) What a confident proclamation! But it’s true, whether you believe it or not. 

And besides Jesus being our Saviour, He is also our Prince of Peace, through whom we get the divine peace that passes all understanding. (Phil. 4:7) Not the kind of peace that the world gives, but the one where we can rise above the circumstances that daily confront us. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) What awesome reassurance! 

And don’t talk about comfort and rest…Jesus is the everlasting fount of those things. He promised us through the Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) Oh friends, how can it be any plainer than that eh? 

And when we talk about comfort, we talking about His Holy Spirit that He sent to comfort us, to lead and guide us and help us have a close relationship with Him and the Father! Hear Him as He said to the disciples. ‘If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.’ (John 14:15-16) And that is exactly what He did. The Holy Ghost came on that Pentecost day after His ascension like a roaring wind with cloven tongues of fire and descended on the disciples and now indwells every believer! (Acts 2:1-14) 

Mama Yo! How then can we not need Jesus continually eh my people? He’s our ALL in ALL: Our God, Saviour, Prince of Peace, Comforter, Intercessor, High Priest, etc. etc.! Annie Sherwood Hawks definitely knew what she was talking about when she wrote that hymn! So in these difficult and dangerous times, let’s show true wisdom and come to Him in true trust and surrender nuh, for He is indeed the answer to ALL our prayers! Much LOVE!

…JESUS…the ONLY name…for One Stop Shopping…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 June 2020 Isaiah 58:11.

Isaiah 58:11.     And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought (times of need), and make fat (strengthen) thy bones: and thou shalt be like a well-watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
 

Oh my people, my people, finally, after about three or four months, the ole fella actually visited one of the Lord’s sanctuaries yesterday! Glory be! And was it ever good to put foot in a church again, although it was for a sad occasion, the funeral of one of our long-time friends, Herman George Gabay. And it was a fairly new Catholic church, so you know it was fine, (smile) but with all the new regulations, we could only sit in every other pew and not too close to anybody not family. 

And it was indeed strange to see the fifty people now allowed for public gatherings all spread out over the large church and all the tape and ribbon and signs to keep us safely separated from each other, plus everybody, even the priest and his helpers in masks. But I guess that’s the new normal now. So, hopefully, we’ll do it responsibly and thus not have to lockdown the society again. 

Anyway, my condolences go out to the Gabay Family. Herman was indeed a kind, friendly, quiet and generous man, and led a long and interesting life. And did he ever look beautiful and at peace lying there in his coffin yesterday in his off-white suit! (smile) He will be missed by all of us though. 

And I have one more set of condolences to send out to the Wilson family in Tobago, as I understand that the neighbour of my youth and big brother Neil also passed away recently. He was much older than me, but I can remember growing up and seeing him dressed in his B.W.I.A (British West Indian Airlines) uniform.

In my time that was a position to which many aspired. We were never bosom chums or anything like that, but whenever we met each other, he was always friendly. I haven’t seen him in many a year, and never knew that over the years, he had become such a stalwart in Tobago politics; Chairman of the PNM party Council in Tobago, as well as ‘the heartbeat of Tobago tourism.’ 

May you both Herman and Neil rest in peace in the arms of the Lord, because that’s where eternal rest and comfort are to be found. And that’s not only for the dear departed my friends, but even more so for the living, as the prophet Isaiah long ago declared: ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.’ (Is. 40:1) The prophet saw salvation and comfort in Israel’s future, and that has become even more firmly entrenched for us under the New Covenant with Jesus. 

And do we ever need comfort and consolation and assurance in these uncertain and trying times my brethren. We need all consuming faith so that we can stand strong and steadfast in the mighty purpose of God! And the minster at the funeral yesterday said he teaches the children that faith is the ability of our spiritual eyes to see beyond the short distance that our physical eyes can see. 

And that’s oh so true friends. If we can’t see figuratively far beyond the literal distance of our physical eyes, then there’s li’l or no chance for us. If we can’t see, feel and understand that our great God is ‘Always There’ for us, as described by this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, then we’re in sad trouble. 

Please pray with me: ‘So often, Lord I reach the bottom of the abyss. So often, I taste the dregs Of my own helplessness. Yet it is there, exactly there That You come to my immediate rescue. When I feel totally impoverished Of all self-sufficiency When I want to vanish into nowhere From the depths of despair I call Your name And You are always there for me!’ 

Now that’s the gospel truth friends! Our God is ALWAYS THERE for us – especially in the darkest times of our lives! All we have to do is call out to Him in true sincerity! And I know that these current times of worldwide sickness and strife are amongst the worst ever for many of us, that’s why I’m encouraging us, pleading with us, to call on the name of the Lord through our Saviour Jesus Christ, for He is the ONLY ONE, who can provide care, comfort, true wisdom and guidance and release from our earthly troubles! 

And when we read His Word, we see that He constantly and faithfully promises to look after us if we come to Him, like in this passage from Isaiah, that’s used as the Bible verse for today’s poem. ‘And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought (times of need), and make fat (strengthen) thy bones: and thou shalt be like a well-watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.’ (Is. 58:11) And the Lord does keep His promises, but He can’t help us until we come a calling on Him. That’s why faith, strong faith is absolutely necessary in these troubled times! 

And just in case you didn’t believe what Isaiah says above there, listen to him again with more substantial and faithful promises of our magnanimous and merciful God. (smile) ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.’ (Is. 55:1) 

And the scholars explain thus: ‘55:1-7. God’s free gift of salvation is offered to all who will receive it. Those who are spiritually hungry and thirsty may come to eat and drink without money (or freely). He promises an everlasting covenant to the Gentiles like the one He established with Israel. His invitation to all men is clearly stated by the appeal, Seek ye the Lord and call ye upon him.’ 

Oh my people, the Lord has done all He can, right down to giving us the New Covenant though the sacrifice of His only begotten Son Jesus! Now it’s up to us to make use of all that He’s provided. And if we don’t, we can’t blame anyone else but ourselves, although nowadays we take great pleasure in playing the blame game! As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. I can only lead you to Jesus, I can’t make you accept Him. But for those of us who have wisely done so, let’s go home now declaring {steups! – and I thought I was spelling it right oui – smile} our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are. 

In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

Now it’s time to seriously action those statements! Much LOVE!

…blessed…are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…for they shall be filled…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 June 2020 John 8:12.

John 8:12.    ​I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
 

Yes…Yes…Yes… It’s Monday! And yuh know what? We coming out fighting! We going out fearless to battle the fearsome and daunting enemy on his own turf – the battlefields of this evil world! And the victory’s already ours, because our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has already defanged and ‘detoothed’ (smile) the ole lion called Satan, and all he has now is a setta mouth, plenty bark and but no bite! Wow! What a mighty avenger is our Lord; the immortal Lion of Judah! 

But we still need to engage Satan in mortal combat because like he doesn’t know or realize that he’s already lost the war for spiritual superiority and keeps showing up and threatening people with his toothless and defanged self. Thus, to add to Satan’s misery, our Saviour has given us a spirit of fearlessness, awesome power through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us to lead, guide and comfort us, plus His amazing LOVE, that shines so brightly, it dazzles the eyes and lights up the darkness, and last, but definitely not least, His everlasting wisdom, through a sound and disciplined mind! 

So poor Beelzebub, he doesn’t stand a chance against us! Glory Hallelujah! Give our Jesus some thanks and praise for being such an awesome ally and giving us all the tools and help we need to keep our victory secure. And who still doesn’t want to hang their hat on Jesus’ hat rack, that’s their business yes, but for sure, me and mine are going to hang ours there! And all those who think like me, shouted a joyful and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

Yes friends, we do need to praise our wonderful God, but we also need to communicate with Him through prayer, the medium that He’s devised for our communication. We need to tell Him our wishes and our woes, because He’s interested in EVERYTHING that concerns us, and sometimes has plans that are different to ours. But since He’s the BOSS, and His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, His desires ALWAYS take priority. And yuh better believe we have a lot to talk to Him about today yes, as we’re faced with double threats of worldwide sickness and worldwide strife and protests. 

So as one strong and sincere voice, let’s call out to Him, invoking our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, asking for His mercy and grace. ‘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. And our anxieties have been recently deepened because some restrictions have been lifted in the lockdown, so more of us are going out to work now without any guarantees of safety. 

Then to complicate matters Father, suddenly, and unexpectedly, worldwide strife and protests have also struck us in this sad time of pandemic, and we don’t have a clue how to handle either situation properly. Mass confusion is currently prevailing in our world, and we desperately need your help to solve both problems, as You are the ONLY One with the power and insight to successfully handle them. 

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 these scourges that are currently plaguing Your beautiful earth. Please help our leaders to wisely quell the strife and protests, and the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to the virus as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, or been injured in the strife, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. 

Father, please 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!’ 

Yes my people, we’ve done the first part of our bounden duty; go to God in sincere prayer. Now we need to do the other part; show this dark and evil world the awesome LIGHT and LOVE that resides in Jesus and those who sincerely believe in Him. Remember Jesus’ words about the world: ‘And this is the condemnation, that (the) light is come into the world, and men LOVED darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.’ (John 3:19) And two thousand years later my brethren, that is still the case, men still prefer darkness to light because their deeds are still evil and are easily hidden in the darkness. 

But please do not forget Jesus’ awesome proclamation to the Jewish Leaders: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ Now those Jewish leaders didn’t believe Him, because they considered Him to be boasting on Himself, tooting His own horn. But we believe Him! Glory to God! And the logical and natural corollary to all that is when Jesus ascended back to heaven, He left His faithful believers to be light in this dark world. 

Please note His decree to us: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:14:16) 

There we have it friends! If you are a true and sincere believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, then it is expected that you will reflect, show the bright LIGHT that He’s placed in you to this dark and evil world, so we can envelop unbelievers in His light, and thus bring them to salvation. That’s it in a nutshell friends! So what are we waiting for eh? Let’s go out today and be like that city on the hill, show the dark world the LIGHT and LOVE of Jesus! Much LOVE!

…oh that many more of us…were truly salt of the earth…and lights of the world…so that in Jesus’ name…the Father would be truly glorified…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 June 2020 John 3:3.

John 3:3.    ​Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.
 

‘Beautiful days are here again…Beautiful days are here again…’ Sing it with me please friends: ‘Beautiful days are here again… Beautiful days are here again…. Glory Hallelujah!’ Yeh, the days themselves have recently been physically beautiful, but what’s been happening within them, is a completely different story. 

But as children of God, imbued with His awesome power of word and mind, we need to see it all by faith and not by sight, we have to call it as we want it to be, not as it is. That’s why we’re singing: ‘Beautiful days are here again…Beautiful days are here again… Glory Hallelujah!’ And they will be, in the Lord’s time, as all our current difficulties and troubles will eventually pass – if only to make room for new ones, (smile) but pass they will, that we can be sure of! 

And I know that many of you are just dying to hear what our friend Anselm said this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. So here goes. The first quote advises: ‘Dream bigger. Do bigger.’ I guess the psychological principle is being invoked here, of the bigger you dream, the bigger will be your results and success, as compared to small dreams which reputedly only bring small success. 

Yes, there is this theory that if we want ten, we need to dream for twenty, because we always seem to get less than what we dream for. My only contention with all of that is we also need to realize that the bigger we dream, it’s the more responsibility and work we’ll have to contend with. So if you don’t want those last two, then don’t do the first one. (smile) 

Then there’s this: ‘Little things make big days.’ And we Christians ought to be more aware of that then the rest of the world, because that’s the way our great God usually works in our lives. But then again, that’s why so many of us are lost and can’t fathom why miracles aren’t happening in our lives…because we have this mindset that miracles are big, newsworthy things, when in fact miracles in God’s understanding are small, everyday occurrences. If we look at the small happenings in our lives, we’ll see that on a daily basis the Lord does something that doesn’t all add up in our way of thinking. Those are the daily miracles, the small things we need to look for and appreciate. 

It’s like the Jews who knew a Messiah was coming to save them, but they mistakenly taught that it was a warrior statesman who would rid them of their enemies and slave-like conditions. But in fact it was a simple rabbi coming to sacrifice His life, so that their sins could be forgiven and give them another option besides merely going to hell at death. 

They didn’t want that though, they wanted the now for now physical solution to their earthly life. But unfortunately friends, life doesn’t always go as we desire. So let’s be wise and look for, and appreciate the small things in life nuh, because that’s where we usually find God, more often than in the big things. 

And this next quote should be self-explanatory: ‘Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.’ Yes mih bredrin, we ought to wake up determined to do something good for God…and do it too! Each and every day, let’s put in a sincere and genuine effort, and if we can, bring some good work to fruition, so that both God and us can be satisfied with our days efforts, as we lay us down to sleep. That’s how I understand it. (smile) 

And what about this one eh? ‘Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.’ That’s gospel truth friends, and we need to hear it ever so much, especially in this soft, pampered and fragile society in which we currently live, where everybody gets tired so quickly, and are quick to stop, to give up, when they aren’t seeing any quick positive results. 

But believers are not supposed to be of that ilk. We’re supposed to keep on keeping on, go the extra mile, don’t stop till we’re done! When we’re tired, that’s when we take a deep breath, catch a second wind and get back into the race. There’s no stopping for believers until Christ takes us home…and even then, we’ll be continually celebrating and regaling Him in heaven, so our work is never done…just getting more enjoyable! (smile) 

And as always, we’ve left the best for last. ‘Do something today that your future self will thank you for.’ And the best thing we can ever do for ourselves, today, or any other day that we’re alive, is to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour! Yes friends, it’s what our great God greatly desires of us, that’s why He sacrificed Jesus on Calvary’s cross to pay for our sins. 

Sins that would have caused eternal death and separation from the Almighty, but through Jesus’ sacrificial payment, we now have the option to come to Him in reconciliation and forgiveness and receive the free gift of grace that leads to salvation and eternal life, eternal dwelling with Him in what we call heaven, a place of unimaginable beauty and exceptional living. 

As Jesus so plainly stated to Nicodemus when he came asking for information. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ And when Nicodemus queried Jesus’ answer, He further explained: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth (wishes), and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whiter it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.’ (John 3:5-8) 

So my brethren, the best thing we can ever do today for our future lives is to be born again! There needs to be a new work from above in our sinful lives, a new beginning; a supernatural spiritual birth is called for if we want to enjoy God’s kingdom. That’s the long and short of the story! Much LOVE!

…eternal life calls for…two births…one earthly…one spiritually…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 May 2020 John 14:2.

John 14:2.    ​In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so; I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
 
At last friends, at long last, yesterday I was able to sit on my front porch and enjoy the welcome the heat of the noonday sun in just an ordinary spring jacket, no big, bulky coat! Glory be! And I mean actually feel the heat gloriously exuding from the sun’s rays, as I turned my bare face up to it and said a most grateful ‘Thank You Lord!’ Yes mih people, those of you living in the tropical climes can laugh as much you want, but I know a good thing when I experience it, and am extremely grateful for whatever it is. Is how many months now we haven’t really felt the sun’s heat up here eh? Too many! So let’s be grateful for whatever little we might receive. 

But sadly, as Job so wisely said, you can’t expect to get the good without the bad, and thus there was also the bad with the good yesterday; the annoying sounds of lawnmowers, and the grass isn’t even green and growing properly yet, plus the whining sounds of electric drills and saws, with motorcycles and cars loudly revving their engines in anticipation of summer, although this one might not have the ‘ownwayness’ usually associated with the season because of Covid-19 restrictions. So let’s hope that yesterday was the first of many such days, and that I will soon be able to go out on my porch at two in the morning in just shorts and a T-shirt! A body can certainly dream eh! (smile) 

But since it’s Saturday, let’s come back down to earth and check out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week nuh, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And this first one is not only interesting but totally true: ‘Improvement begins with I.’ Oh friends, if only more of us would recognize that truth! Improvement does begin with the letter ‘I’ as well as at the person, ‘I, me, myself!’ Any improvement in our lives must begin and end with us personally. Nobody else can really do it for us. Yes, they can encourage or even help us, but the basic desire and overall effort must come from us. 

We will never improve unless we want to do so, and then put that desire into blood, sweat and tears action, for it’s only those characteristics that bring about any real and true improvement in our lives. That takes us to this next quote: ‘My life is constantly under construction. There’s always something to improve.’ And isn’t that the indisputable truth? It surely is, since once we’re still alive, even in our old age, there are always areas in which we both need improvement and can also carry out the improvement. Now they might just be small things, but you’ll be surprised at the huge differences small changes or improvements in our lives can bring. 

That’s why we’re told to never stop learning, it not only makes us wiser, but also keeps us alive longer. (smile) And then there’s this: ‘All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.’ That’s another indisputable truth! You cannot improve or make any real progress when you’re comfortable. It’s just a fact of life. As we said above, it’s only in actions that bring out blood, sweat and tears can true improvement or progress be made. And if you don’t believe me, just try it and see nuh. Try to improve without any real effort, and see how far you get. 

Now this next quote is also the gospel truth, as no doubt many of us have eventually found out. ‘If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter, but if you continuously compete with yourself you become better.’ Ah friends, some competition is healthy and useful to drive us along, but when that competition becomes all there is, all that you’re living for, then you lose the whole beauty and essence of whatever you’re doing, and eventually your soul just becomes more negative, especially if you’re not winning those things for which you compete. You begin to resent and even hate those against whom you’re competing, get irrational and angry and begin doing illegal or unlawful things just to win. 

And this doesn’t hold true only in the outside world, but also in the church, where there is a lot of unnecessary competition for whatever reason, which leads to many cliques and much jealousy amongst the saints of Christ. Please remember Bruh Paul’s warning to the church at Corinth when those believers were arguing about whom they belonged to, Paul or Apollos. Christ’s church is one body, and like the human body it has many different parts with each part playing a different role, performing a different function, just like our hands, feet and eyes perform different functions, but are all important to the proper functioning of our bodies. 

Likewise, Christians are co-labourers, and it doesn’t matter who’s planted and whose watered, Paul or Apollos, because in the long run it is God that gives the increase. The most important thing is for us to do what we’ve each been called to do, but to all build our work on the strong and stable foundation that’s Christ our Lord and Saviour! (1 Cor. 3:1-15) And this last quote exemplifies all that we’ve said, but it also helps and encourages us to improve and accomplish. ‘When everything seems like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.’ 

Oh my my my! That view from heaven is certainly breathtaking! Yes friends, when life seems to be giving us a rough time, we need to stop for a moment and think on, truly consider the goal we’re working towards, how we will feel when we’ve accomplished it, and let that view from the top energize, encourage and reassure us. For remember life is nothing but a bully-boy, and if it discovers it can beat you down continually, it will do so. But please remember these awesome and encouraging words of Christ: 

‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so; I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ (John 14:1-3) And if you believe in Jesus, then you know that He is faithful to keep His promises. And the scholars offer us this marvellous explanation of what we have to look forward to.

’14:2. Heaven is a place and the eternal hope of the saved. Scripture describes it as a beautiful city where the redeemed will live for eternity. The activities include singing (Rev. 15:3), worship (Rev. 5:9), serving Rev. 22:3), ruling (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 22:5), fellowship with others (Matt. 17:3), and eating (Rev. 2:17). 

Illustration: The quality of existence in heaven is a life of fellowship with God (Rev. 22:4), a life of rest (Rev. 14:13), a life of service (Rev. 22:3), a life of growth (Rev. 22:2), and a life of worship (Rev. 19:1). Application: The glories of heaven belong only to those who have personally trusted Christ for their salvation. Christians who work to win souls are gathering friends who will spend eternity with them in heaven (First Ref. Gen. 1:1; Primary Ref. Rev. 21:1-5; cf. Matt. 24:33).’ 

Now friends, please, let’s take a moment today out of our busy, lockdown schedules (smile) and sincerely peruse those scriptures nuh, and if they don’t raise up the joy, the anticipation that heaven offers, then I really don’t know what else to say. Much LOVE!

…when life becomes a struggle…look up…and remember…the awesome and faithful promise of heaven…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 April 2020 Isaiah 33:22.

Isaiah 33:22.    For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.
 

And it’s a cloudy, drizzly Tuesday morning…Thank the Lord for Life and some spring blessing, so that in these cold and dry northern climes, His earth can return to it its wonderful green and flowery nature! Yeh friends, whatever the situations or circumstances in our individual lives and our overall world, we need to give our heavenly Father much thanks and praise for His LOVING-kindness and mercy and grace to us undeserving children of men. For without those benefits, we’d be lost forever in a state of sin, shame, disgrace and eventual death! 

Now here’s a poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that brings home that very truth. It’s most appropriately titled ‘Wrong Question.’ Please pray with me: ‘My faithful God I see afresh this morning The grave error of my question “Don’t You LOVE me anymore?” I ought always to ask instead “How can You LOVE me so continually With such immeasurable LOVE?” Now that my fellow saints in Christ is the zillion dollar question – how can a holy, just and righteous Deity LOVE a bunch of ingrates so much eh? 

Well the answer is really quite simple: our God is also a God of LOVE, of mercy, of grace and of forgiveness, and above all, we are His own creation, created to have purposeful fellowship and communion with Him, so it’s obvious that He can’t simply throw us away even though we’re rather disobedient and sinful! Remember too that He’s also the God of second, third, fourth and unlimited chances. So it would be against His very nature to just cast us off without any form of help. As Bruh Paul told Timothy: ‘If we believe not (are faithless), yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.’ (2 Tim. 2:13) 

Yes friends, the Lord cannot deny what He is, or go against His natural attributes. And remember too, He promised to redeem mankind after He kicked our forefathers Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden for their unfaithfulness. So it’s finally come right around full circle: the Lord’s kept His word and gave us a Saviour in Christ Jesus, redemption and salvation bought and paid for by His precious blood shed sacrificially on the cross at Calvary. So alright, I said it was simple, and to the Lord it was and is; though to us it might seem rather convoluted. (smile) 

But precious people, all we need to know and believe is that Christ died to save us, and true belief in Him and His righteous cause will lead us to eternal life. And a li’l while ago, when I opened the Good Book, what positive and proactive and promising scripture do you think it opened at eh? Hear the voice of the prophet Isaiah: ‘For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.’ Mama Mia! That says it all my brethren! The Lord God of Israel is all of those things to us, and we need to badly acknowledge Him as them if we want to see long life and good days. 

Unfortunately though, our world has turned away from God and has made the prince of darkness it’s new leader. But friends, lemme tell you a li’l ‘secrat’ nuh; the Lord is not going to allow the fallen angel Lucifer to usurp His earthly creation, just like He didn’t allow him to usurp His heavenly kingdom. So for all of those who want to put their trust in Satan now, it will be a sad day for them when that day of judgement arrives, as it most certainly will. The Good Book says it quite plainly: ‘And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement:’ (Heb. 9:27) 

And then it will be too late to change our minds, so please, please, I beg of us, let’s disassociate ourselves from the darkness of the world nuh, and instead seek the light, the bright, shining and everlasting light of Jesus, for in Him will we find the true life, the true reason for living! And I just got a good allegory for that: like we doing social distancing now for Covid-19, the same way we ought to do social distancing from Satan! Oh yes, I likes it! It’s rather appropriate! Let’s keep our social distance from this world and all it’s sinful temptations and cling to that Master vine that’s Jesus, so that crapaud don’t smoke we pipe when the end times come. 

That’s wisdom at its highest mih people, so please let’s joyfully embrace it now nuh. As Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) defines wisdom: something you do now that will benefit you later on down the road of life! And believe me, clinging to Jesus is the most beneficial thing we can ever do in this life! And the scripture verses for the poem above is also rather apropos for today’s discussion. They’re taken from, or rather all of Psalm 117 – ‘The truth of the Lord endureth forever.’ 

So please declare (steups!) with me: ‘O Praise (glorify) the Lord, all ye nations (gentiles): praise (glorify) him, all ye people. For his merciful (LOVING) kindness is great towards us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise (glorify) ye the Lord.’ (Ps. 117:1-2) And it couldn’t be said, any sweeter or shorter than that nuh mih bredrin. So let’s do it right now nuh; praise and glorify our magnificent and magnanimous God by declaring (Steups! Like I have to go back to school and learn to spell declare (yeah!) and its derivations yes!) our Tuesday Mantra. 

So in strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ And though the Coronavirus and social distancing might bridle us a bit, they certainly won’t stop us from sharing Christ’s LOVE and friendship with the many others who desperately need it in these calamitous times! Much LOVE!

…it’s definitely foolish…for one created…to trust another created…more than their common Creator…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 April 2020 Matthew 28:19.

Matthew 28:19.    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: 
 

Aye mih bredrin, we’re back to Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and we still don’t have the option to fellowship together in the Lord’s sanctuary because of the social distancing business, but that’s never stopped us before, and believe me, it won’t stop us today either because we have technology! Technology, the wizardry that allows us to communicate live and in person across major distances, so though we can’t hug and kiss and shake hands, we can still celebrate the Lord’s Day with thanks and praise and reading of His Word and getting His assurance and confidence to successfully handle our difficult circumstances. 

I don’t know how our forefathers managed during their time of plagues and pandemic problems. But they still managed to hand down the gospel to us. Yet we, with all our technology, can’t get it into our children’s heads. But that’s another story for another day. So let’s get to some praise and worship to open the proceedings. And today’s song is of the contemporary Christian genre, titled ‘I’m just a Nobody.’ 

Now there seems to be at least two versions, each with different lyrics in the verses, one a soulful version by the Williams Brothers, but we’re going to follow the Casting Crowns version featuring Matthew West; a rocking, raunchy, good times one, with lots of clapping, dancing, and of course singing! (smile) We’ll begin with some hand clapping, in three fourths time, then sing the first line of the chorus three times acapella, then get into the full chorus as the music comes up. So here goes: clap, clap: ‘I’m just a nobody…clap, clap: I’m just a nobody…clap, clap: I’m just a nobody…’ and then music and everybody going crazy! 

‘Chorus: I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, all about Somebody, who saved my soul. Ever since You rescued me, You gave my heart a song to sing. I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus! I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus!)  Why you ever chose me, has always been a mystery. All my life, I’ve been told I belong, at the end of the line. With all the other “Not Quites” with all the “Never-Get-it Rights” But it turns out, they’re the ones you’ve been looking for all this time, (Chorus:  Cause I’m just a nobody… living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus!) 

Moses had stage fright, and David brought a rock to a sword fight, You picked twelve outsiders, nobody would have ever chosen, and you changed the world. Well the moral of the story is, Everybody’s got a purpose. So when I hear that devil start talking to me saying, “Who do you think you are?” (Chorus: I say, I’m just a nobody… living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus!) So let me go down, down, down in history, as another blood-bought faithful member of the family. And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me. I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus… 

So let me go down, down, down in history, as another blood-bought faithful member of the family…That’s all I ever want to be… And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me. I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus… Cause I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, all about Somebody, who saved my soul. Ever since You rescued me, You gave my heart a song to sing. I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus! I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus! I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus!’ 

Oh yes friends, that was indeed a happily sung ditty; one of hope, faith and rejoicing! And I like what one web site says about the song: ‘The lyrics describe how God uses ordinary people to spread the Gospel of Jesus! We are all flawed, yet the Lord has a purpose for us. In our joy of having been forgiven, we excitedly point to the forgiver, Jesus Christ!’ And all God’s people said a loud and grateful ‘Amen!’ And that’s indeed our main purpose in this life my brethren; to ‘excitedly point to the forgiver;’ to spread the gospel of Christ with unyielding zest and holy enthusiasm. 

As Jesus declared to His disciples: ‘All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 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, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:18-20) And that my people is what we refer to as ‘the Great Commission!’ And moreover, against all odds, the disciples were indeed able to do that seemingly impossible task; twelve poor, uneducated men charged with proselytizing the entire world! 

And they certainly laid a good foundation for us to further build onLet’s not forget that we are Christ’s arms, legs, head, hands and body in this dark and sinful world, and that He’s depending on us to show the lost the light of His gospel and lead them to Him so they can be saved; forgiven, granted salvation through grace, which leads to eternal life. Remember Jesus memorable words about why He came into the world: ‘For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.’ (Matt.18:11) And that philosophy hasn’t changed down through the ages friends, which means we still need to show interest in and help those lost in the darkness of Satan’s world. 

Jesus also made His Father’s intentions quite clear in these momentous and memorable words that we all know: ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’ (John 3:16-17) 

Let’s remember that this Sunday friends, as we are unable to worship in physical proximity, and realize in that sense, we are still the lost, and that we still need saving from the Coronavirus, and that Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can do it! Much LOVE!

…without Jesus…we’re all hopelessly lost…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 April 2020 Mark 6:50b.

Mark 6:50b.    Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I; be not afraid.
 
And the world keeps turning, like the Lord planned it to: it’s pages quietly and unconcernedly rolling along from one day to the next, regardless of what happens from one day to the next! (smile) And it’s finally rolled around to this Saturday in what’s supposed to be spring time, but we haven’t seen any rain in such a long time that the old adage ‘April showers bring May flowers’ is in danger of not being true this year of the Coronavirus. But what else is new eh? Cousin Sol said long ago that there’s nothing new under the sun. Yes: ‘The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.’ (Eccl. 1:9) 

And yuh know, if the wisest man ever said that, then it ought to be so. (smile) But it also shows up in our age old cliché that ‘History repeats itself.’ And that is oh so true. If we look back we can see every powerful society that ever walked the earth making the same mistake of getting too full of themselves, too big for their britches, replacing God with man made idols as they obtained some basic knowledge of life, and then getting fat and lazy off of their prosperity, which meant they stopped growing and began falling behind into eventual oblivion. 

And the same thing is happening in our current society, and our current worldwide trouble is simply a reflection of our stubbornness, hard heartedness and highly egotistical nature. It’s a wake up call from the Creator to the created, warning that we’re on the edge of a terrible precipice, and if we don’t heed the warning and repent and turn back to Him, a whole lot more damage will be done to our world. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! End of sermon! And friends I’m chuckling here, because I never came out to preach this morning, but that’s where I was led, so please take it easy on the ole fella nuh. 

But moving right along, since it’s Saturday, that lazy, late wake up day – most days are like that now though – let’s see what interesting quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a brighter tomorrow…and do we ever need one! And he seems to have been on progress kick this past week. Hear this first quote: ‘Delay is the enemy of progress.’ And so it is! Laziness and procrastination, and anything else that keeps us from doing what we have to do, is in fact delaying our progress. We can’t progress unless we get up off our fat fannies and do what we need to do! 

And the next quote also declares a great truth: ‘Comfort is the enemy of progress.’ Yes my people, as we said above, that’s why most societies eventually die. We start out by working hard and making progress, then when we reach a certain point of prosperity, we believe we can now rest on our laurels and enjoy what we have. But the sad fact of the matter is that continued prosperity depends on continued hard work, and resting comfortable on one’s laurels only eats away at said prosperity. 

It’s like your savings in the bank. The more you put in the more you will have, but when you stop putting in and only withdraw, then it will wither away li’l by li’l until it runs out. Well it’s the same way with progress and prosperity. Unless you keep building, working and saving, you will stop making progress and eventually fall. 

Now hear this one: ‘Some quit due to slow progress. Never grasping the fact that slow progress is progress.’ That’s more gospel truth my brethren! Good progress is usually a creeping thing that includes some failure in between. We don’t just begin something today, if it’s a worthwhile project, put in a li’l elbow grease and declare victory or significant progress tomorrow. No friends, progress is a time consuming thing, and ofttimes needs a lot of blood, sweat and tears before it can be significantly achieved. 

And that’s a major problem for this generation. We the parents have not taught the children sufficiently about waiting and working and being satisfied or contented with a little, that’s why they’re all going crazy, feeling entitled to everything while not wanting to work for or make a sacrifice for anything! That thing called true progress is ever so slow my people that sometimes you can’t even see it, although you know you’re making it. So let’s not quit when it looks like positive things are not happening for us nuh. It just means that the Lord is working in the background, doing the hard and dirty work that’s necessary to move us forward. 

In light of all that, it is therefore necessary for us to quickly befriend this next quote and hold on to it tightly, as our very lives may depend on it. ‘Courage means to keep making forward progress while you still feel afraid.’ And isn’t that the living truth! All of us feel afraid at some time or other in our lives, so it’s not a matter of never being afraid, or never having fear, for fear is a natural aspect of human life. But the important thing there is like Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) puts it: ‘doing it afraid.’ That’s what courage is really all about; doing what we need to despite the fear or anxiety we might feel. 

And the only thing that really conquers fear is faith! That’s why the most used command or warning in the Good Book is ‘Fear not! Do not be afraid!’ Moses said it thus to the Israelites when they were leaving Egypt and the massive Egyptian army was hot on their heels: ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation (deliverance) of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.’ (Ex. 14:13) And that promise did come true in spades as the entire Egyptian army was drowned in the Red Sea when the Lord closed it back up. 

And the psalmist gives us this small but everlasting treasure: ‘The Lord is on my side, I will not fear: what can man do unto me?’ (Ps.118:6) Yes friends, if the Lord is on our side, man cannot prevail over us. And Isaiah drives it home on the Lord’s behalf. ‘Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense: he will come and save you.’ (Is. 35:4) And he did exactly that through His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

And when Jesus walked on water towards His disciples and they were afraid, His comforting words were simply: ‘Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I; be not afraid.’  Yes my people, simple, but oh so reassuring words from our Master. That’s the beauty of His philosophy and words! 

And we’ll end with this most important warning from Bruh Paul to Timothy in his tough times, which we all ought to know by now, even if we didn’t know it before Covid-19. (smile) ‘For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power (His Holy Spirit), and of LOVE, and of a sound (disciplined) mind.’ (2 Tim. 1:7) Now let’s go out and use those marvellous gifts in His work nuh! Much LOVE!

…fear and courage…two sides of the same coin…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 April 2020 Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28.    Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 

And life goes on one way or the other through this Coronavirus time. But these calamitous times will end one day, when the Lord so desires. Yes friends, this too will undoubtedly pass, when the Lord achieves the purpose(s) for which He allowed it. However, in the mean time, we have two options of living life, as author Daniel Darling proposes in an article I recently read. ‘We can spend the rest of our years angry at what we think we’ve lost, or we can spend them in sweet dependence on God.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth! We can either get angry and be miserable about all the negative things that have happened and are still happening, or simply do like our leader, Jesus Christ advises; put our total trust and dependence in Him; the One who has moved us from death and eternal separation from God, to salvation and eternal life with Him. Just consider His Great Invitation nuh: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) 

Wow! Is anybody else offering, or have ever offered such a glorious invitation? No sir! And as author Darling continues in his article: ‘This is the difference, I think, between those whose lives are marked by grace and those whose lives are filled with frustration and anger.’ And that’s the gospel truth! Grace and peace come through association with Jesus, but anger and frustration are the product of a constantly dissatisfied and negative spirit, like that of Satan. And with the free will God granted us, we must now choose our preferred or desired course of action: doing life with Him, or death with the prince of demons. 

As Moses, on God’s behalf said to the Israelites: ‘I call heaven and earth to record (as witnesses) this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.’ (Deut.31:19) The Lord’s saying the same thing to us today my people. And if that didn’t resonate with you, (smile) then listen to this other invitation that Joshua, Moses’ replacement as the Israelite leader, gave them. 

‘Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood (the Euphrates River), and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ (Josh. 24:14-15) 

There it is friends, plainly set out in black and white! Now it’s up to us to choose. And since I know that most of us have obviously chosen ‘life, blessing, and the Lord God of Israel,’ then it now behooves us to communicate with Him and follow His rules and regulations, which can sometimes be onerous, but are always for our benefit. (smile) Okay, some of us doubt that, but if you keep the faith and grow in it, you will eventually realize that it’s oh so true. So let’s communicate with our Creator nuh, in the manner that He set out; purposeful, confident and humble prayer. 

And this Monday morning the most stressful and discouraging thing on our minds is the Covid-19 disease, therefore let’s address that matter uppermost in our prayer, the one we call our Monday Morning Covid-19 Battle Hymn. Altogether now: ‘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. 

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!’ 

Ah friends, if that didn’t get God’s attention, I don’t know what will nuh. (smile) But He is the Boss and it’s His decision! So now we wait with patience, meaning perseverance, faith and hope, eager anticipation, and a trusting heart, because as we said at the beginning, all will be revealed and come to pass in His time, not ours. And yes, unfortunately our great God doesn’t see, or perceive time in the same simple way that we do, but on a more lofty level. 

And to reinforce our differences, He has said through His prophet Isaiah: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways may ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ (Is. 55:8-9) Now that certainly puts us in our place. And it’s rather sad that so many of us don’t seem to believe it, one of the major reasons why our world is in such a disastrous state. I don’t know what else we need to truly understand that we are not masters of our own fate! Much LOVE!

…to the Creator…belongs…the life and times of the created…

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