Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 December 2019 Psalm 136:1.

Psalm 136:1.    ​O Give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever.

 

Come now precious people of God, let us get ourselves together in fine style and fashion this Monday morning, and go out and do Jesus’ work with a good, upstanding attitude nuh! It’s the least we can do to show our gratitude for all that He’s done for us. And all God’s children said: ‘Praise the Lord!’ It’s amusing, but sad, that every Monday morning the enemy clogs up so many of our souls and spirits that we can’t function the way we ought to. It’s just something we have to keep fighting through though. 

And to help us do that, we have this awesome prayer we call our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, where we take our troubles to the Lord, asking for His beneficence in this our time of need, reminding Him that it’s His Son’s work we’re seeking strength, courage and wisdom to do. So altogether now, let’s raise our hearts, souls and voices to high heaven: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. 

We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Ah friends, heaven heard that sincere, heartfelt prayer and the Lord immediately directed the Holy Spirit to begin working in us, to start energizing us so that we can go out and successfully do Jesus’ work; LOVING people, helping them, and causing them to want to come to Him to lay down their heavy burdens and find rest for their weary souls. No wonder the psalmist could pay the ultimate tribute to our God by declaring (steups!) in the very first verse of his psalm: ‘O Give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever.’ What  gospel truth friends! 

And the psalmist felt so strongly about it that he continued: ‘O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of Lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.’ (Ps. 136:2-3) And yuh better believe that the other 23 verses of the psalm all end in “for his mercy endureth for ever.’ (smile) According to the scholars, ‘The psalm was no doubt sung antiphonally with the people responding with the refrain: “for his mercy endureth for ever.” The word mercy was important in the Psalter. It refers to God’s loyal LOVE for His people. He is in covenant with them, and He LOVES to be loyal to that covenant.’ 

And just to show how important mercy (LOVING-kindness) was to the psalmists, please check out Psalms 106 and 107, they both begin the same way. Jeremiah also declared it when he promised that Judah would be revived. ‘The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land (the captives to return), as at the first, saith the Lord.’ (Jer.33:11) 

And just to remind us, the Lord still delights in the sacrifice of praise. So if you’re in dire need of mercy, of LOVING-kindness, then that’s the way to go! (smile) Even Bruh David used it in his psalm of thanksgiving after he’d brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory (triumph) in thy praise. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.’ (1 Chr.16:34-36) 

Oh my fellow believers, we could not end this morning on a better note. So please, let’s cry out to our great God, He of our salvation, to help and save us, and offer up a sincere sacrifice of praise. And all God’s children said a loud and grateful ‘Praise the Lord!’ Much LOVE!

…there’s nothing that delights the Lord more…than hearing His awesome praises being declared…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 December 2019 Luke 1:28.

Luke 1:28.    ​And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail (rejoice), thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
 

Give it to me one time: ‘Wednesday!’ Give it to me two times: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday!’ Give it to me three times: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday!’ Give it to me four times: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday!’ 

And now we sing: ‘Thank You Lord for this new day, even though it looks cloudy and dark! Thank You Lord for your new mercies, your compassions, that are new every morning! Thank You Lord for Jesus; Your wonderful Son, our Lord and Saviour, who lights up our lives with His LOVE and Goodness! Thank you Lord for Your own amazing LOVE and faithfulness, that’s taken away the fearful thoughts of hell, and given us the glorious hope of heaven! We LOVE You and praise Your Holy Name! Now and forever more! Amen!’ 

Ah mih people, those are only a few of the things that we have to be thankful for this hump day – this Wednesday morning early in Advent, as we prepare for Christ’s second coming and celebrate His first in the upcoming season of Christmas. Yes, we’re all about celebrations and gifts and food and drink, and the numerous other things we do at this time of year. We’re even nice to our enemies, (smile) wishing them ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays’ etc. etc. The sad part though is that so many of us forget the real reason for the celebrations; the birth of Christ! 

We’re quick to accept and honour the man-made traditions, but the real spirit, the real importance of what happened some two thousand years ago doesn’t really concern us as much as it ought to. Where would we be if Christ hadn’t been born in that manger on that fateful day eh? Dead and dying, eternally separated from the Father, only fit to associate with the evil one. And where would our Christian faith be but for that miraculous happening? Non-existent, to say the least! That means we wouldn’t have all the blessings and promises that we currently have because of the Father’s LOVE and largesse. 

Unfortunately, not enough supposed believers contemplate these kinds of things; we don’t plumb the depths of our faith to find out why it is what is. We just get caught up in all the rigmarole of the world; the commerce, the bright lights, and what have you. That’s not good enough friends, we ought to be taking the Christmas season a li’l more seriously, trying to delve into the scriptures concerning it, and learning how important it is for the very essence of our beings. And one of the most important things we ought to consider and truly believe is the virgin birth of Christ, because if it isn’t true, then our whole faith is lies and utter foolishness. 

For if Christ wasn’t supernaturally planted by the Holy Ghost in the womb of his Mother Mary, then He could not be God, but a mere man like us, and consequently could not redeem us from our sins and all the other stuff He’s done. And all of that calls for a large measure of faith, not by seeing things as they seem with the normal eyes, but of knowing and acknowledging the might and miraculous power of our heavenly Father, who can do any and everything, even make a woman conceive without knowing a man. (smile) 

And why should that be such a big thing these days eh, when we do almost the same thing through artificial insemination? Many woman have children now without knowing the physical aspect of a man by having his sperm injected into their wombs. But don’t get carried away, (smile) we still need the man to get the sperm! That leads to this: to deny Christ’s virgin birth is to deny His deity, and thus question the integrity of the scriptures. But thankfully, we faithful Christians don’t do that. We know that Christ had the human nature of His mother and the divine, godly nature of His Father! 

And all God’s people gave a loud and grateful shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah! Give thanks to God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Ghost; our triune God!’ And so we should! 

Now let’s look at some of the scripture associated with Christ’s incarnation nuh. The Good Book says: ‘And in the sixth month (of Elisabeth’s pregnancy – John the Baptist’s mother) the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused (betrothed, engaged) to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail (rejoice), thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast her mind (considered) what manner of salutation (greeting) this should be.’ (Luke 1:26-29) 

Oh, it’s certainly reasonable for a teenaged girl in a backwater town to be somewhat confused by such and exalted greeting. But our God is a gentle and understanding deity. ‘And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus (Yahweh Is Salvation). He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest (Most High): and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’ (Luke 1:30-33) 

Ah my fellow believers, who but our great God could come up with such a plan eh? So let’s ponder that scripture today nuh, and contemplate on our possible reaction to such a momentous opportunity. Obviously we won’t be offered that one now, (smile) but with our very imaginative and challenging God, there’s no telling what miraculous opportunity He will still pitch to us. So we’ve got to be prepared. 

Now let’s go home declaring (chuh!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. All together now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ Now believe it, and you’ll certainly see it! Much LOVE!

…let’s keep Christ where He belongs…in Christmas…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 December 2019 John 1:9.

John 1:9.    ​That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
 

Ah friends, sorry that we’re somewhat late this Tuesday morning, but I had to go out the street to do some early morning blood work, and after I returned, I had to find something to break the long fast required for the bloodwork. (smile) Then I came down here and found a whole pile of e-mails to sort through. Steups! most of them were junk, but I had to check them out, just in case they had some important info to divulge. Chuh! I don’t know why people insist on sending me the same things, even when I say I’m not interested, block them or report them as phishing. But I guess that’s the price we pay for the convenience of the computer. 

Anyway, this Tuesday morning the sun is shining brightly, though it’s cold and icy, and filled with the remnants of the recent snowfall. Oh, I know it won’t contribute much, if anything to the temperature, but it sure does improve the psychological aspect by brightening up our spirits a little with its light. (smile) Don’t laugh though, because it’s been proven that light is oh so important in man’s life, especially in these cold, dark, dreary months of winter. As Cousin Sol says Ecclesiastes: ‘Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.’ (Eccl.11:7) 

But my fellow believers, the most important light in our lives is that of Jesus, who John correctly refers to: ‘That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ And is that ever wonderful news, because it ‘means that God’s revelation is universally available’ – to those who choose to believe, not ‘universal salvation,’ meaning whether you believe or not. And we can’t quote John there without quoting Isaiah, re the promise to Israel of the Lord’s servant. ‘And he said, it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end(s) of the earth.’ (Is. 49:6) 

Yeh friends, the light that the Lord promised Israel would also be a light unto the whole world, bringing salvation to all and sundry! And as always, the Lord’s promise was fulfilled; this one by the coming of Jesus to earth in the form of a man and dying for our sins to make us right with the Father once again! Wow! It has always been the Father’s intention, ever since Adam and Eve screwed up, to give us another chance at redemption, another option than that of dying in our darkness and thus having no other choice than to head directly to Hades, but it had to happen in His time. 

And yuh know that His time doesn’t correspond anywhere near to ours. (smile) Remember how Peter puts it: ‘But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.’ (2 Pet. 3:8) So when we think and/or talk about one day, the Lord is seeing and thinking of a thousand years! But getting back to the story of light, all down through the ages, the Lord has always been a major light in the lives of His followers. Let’s see how the scriptures put it. Hear Bruh David: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ (Ps. 27:1) 

Very good questions my brethren! And the answer to both is ‘NOBODY!’ That’s because when we walk in the light of the Lord and in His awesome strength, we clearly see where we’re going, and nobody can mess with us. And Bruh David strengthens his argument in Psalm 36, when he declares: ‘For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.’ (Ps. 36:9) Yes friends, the Lord is indeed the fountain of life, the Creator, the Maker of ALL life, and when we walk in His light we will definitely see light. 

Thus the wisdom of the psalmist in Psalm 119: ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ (Ps. 119:105) Glory be my people! When we sincerely follow the Lord’s Word, we’re surrounded by His amazing light, and it also displays in bright and living colour, the path we ought to walk! Thus there should be no disputing when Jesus says of us: ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ (Matt. 5:14a) He is there giving us the authority to be shining lights in this dark world, to be people who make a difference, who light up the life of others. Friends, it’s our essential mission! 

And He continues: ‘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 to 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. 5:14b-16) So please, let’s stop hiding our lights nuh, instead let’s make them shine even more brightly around the world, as we do Jesus’ work! 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know exactly who and whose we are. In one strong and sincere voice: ‘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 now its action time my people! Much LOVE!

…God said…let there be light…and there was light… (Gen.1:3)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 November 2019 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.
 

Yes mih people…we’ve been granted one more day of God’s tender mercies and inexhaustible compassions! And though we may not know why, we can be assured that there’s an important reason, because the Lord does have a plan and a purpose for every life He creates and leaves breathing here on earth. 

So let’s accept His largesse with a good attitude nuh, and joyfully declare like the psalmist did so long: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps.118:24) And that is wisdom personified, for as the ole people would say, you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and we all know that our God would never grant us bad stuff. So let’s get out there and enjoy the day, be it rain, sun, sleet, or shine! 

And you’ll also notice that although it’s Saturday, the ole fella is up rather early. Chuh! I went to bed late but got up a couple hours later and could not go back to sleep, so after turning and tossing for about forty-five minutes, I decided to just get up and begin enjoying the day. (smile) And a part of that is reviewing the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better and brighter tomorrow. 

Listen to this first one: ‘Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.’ Now I accept the first part without reservations, but not the second, because like many of us, I’ve learned from personal experience, that if you leave life to do its own thing, then it will more often take you downhill than up. And that’s because life in this fallen world is basically a negative implication rather than a positive one. Simply notice how hard you have to try and formulate and keep positive thoughts and actions, whereas the negative aspects come in droves, completely unbidden. And if the evil and negative Satan is the prince of this world, then that’s to be expected! 

But hear this: ‘Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.’ Now that I have to chuckle at, because I’ve found that happiness more often sneaks out of the door you’ve left open than it sneaks in. In the first place, happiness is such an ephemeral and intangible thing that it’s here today and gone tomorrow. And when you’re happy, you tend to leave doors open, rather than close them, because life is so wonderful…and that’s when happiness escapes, like a thief in the night! 

And that leads us to this quote: ‘Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.’ Now that’s more like the truth! You certainly can’t leave happiness to the whim of chance, or it will have you up and down like a yo-yo! You have to grab happiness by the horns and keep it under heavy manners, because as soon as you’re not looking, it’s liable to slip away unnoticed. So happiness is a state of mind you consciously acknowledge that you will embrace. 

And this next one tells us: ‘We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’ And is that ever true my faithful brethren! That’s because, as we said at the beginning, God has a plan and a purpose for every life He creates, and usually that doesn’t mesh with the one we desire to have. And I can personally testify to that. 

Yuh think the Bit you’re reading now is my idea? Definitely not! I never envisioned myself as a writer of scriptural stuff, but apparently that was the Lord’s plan, and though I fought it, He eventually won the battle. And here’s a li’l secret; He’ll always win, if He really desires to. 

So please, don’t do like I did. When He comes to you with some idea that you don’t like, don’t laugh because you consider it implausible, or fight it too hard, because He won’t give up, but will make life so miserable and unbearable that you will eventually give in. But the wonderful thing about our God is that He’s faithful to a fault. Anything He asks you to do, He WILL enable you to do it. Just look at my example; when I began writing the Bit, I didn’t know anything, now I know too much. (smile) 

And I always try to leave the best for last. ‘Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! That’s also how it ought to be with followers of Christ? And there’s no more beautiful promise in the scripture than that found in these wonderful words of Jesus. ‘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) 

Jesus was there comforting His disciples, assuring them that all He said would come to pass, and He would be back to take them with Him some day to a beautiful place, an eternal home, He called heaven. Now hear the scholars’ thoughts on that marvellous place: ‘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 in heaven include singing (Rev.15:3), worship (Rev.5:9), serving (Rev.2:17), 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.)’ 

Oh friends, in light of all that wonderful info, please, let’s make a serious and solemn pact, that we’ll all meet in heaven one day to celebrate with, praise and worship our great and Triune God. Much LOVE!

…only two options in eternity…heaven…or hell…you choose…by whom you believe in…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 November 2019 Psalm 145:3.

Psalm 145:3.    ​Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable (beyond our understanding).
 

Oh precious people of Christ, it’s a new day, with new mercies and new compassions from our heavenly Father! Praise His holy name! And we’ll do just that this cloudy, dreary-looking Thursday morning, starting with a poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. And it’s ever so appropriately titled ‘Celebration!’ 

So please pray with me sincerely: ‘When I think of Your lavish goodness The longings You’ve satisfied The forgiveness You’ve granted The promises You’ve kept When I think of Your irresistible LOVE Your ceaseless care Your unfailing protection… O Lord God I want to raise flags And fly banners And sound bugles. I want to run with lighted torches And praise You From the mountaintop. I want to write symphonies And shout for joy. I want to throw a festive party For ten thousand guests. I want to celebrate with streamers and bright lights And an elaborate banquet.’ And God’s answer to all that… ‘Fine, dear child I’m ready.’ 

Oh friends, nobody like s a party, a celebration like our wonderful God, especially when He’s the One we’re celebrating! And He does deserve a whole lot of celebrating for all those things said in the poem about His goodness and LOVING-kindness are eternally true! And He’s ready to party, whenever we are! And we are indeed ready! So let’s begin by glorifying Him in the words of Bruh David from his psalm of praise: ‘I will extol (praise) thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.’ (Ps. 145:1-2) 

Oh my fellow saints in Christ, that is exactly how we ought to behave every single day of our lives! And if you want to know why we singing His praises so vociferously each and every day, then listen to our Bit, Bruh David’s next words: ‘Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable (beyond our understanding).’ And it surely is my people! And I like how the Lord didn’t wait for us to find that out for ourselves, but plainly told us so in His own words: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ (Is. 55:8-9) And that’s an indisputable fact! 

And the scholars offer this most interesting and intriguing explanation: ‘55:8-13. God’s sovereignty and omniscience are extolled by the statement that His thoughts (i.e., purposes or intentions) and ways (Gr. derakim, or “directions”) are higher than ours. While God may certainly be known by men, He is still incomprehensible in the totality of His person and purposes. Therefore, He reveals Himself to men by His word, which shall not return to him void (in vain). The Word of God, therefore, accomplishes His purpose in announcing salvation.’ And are we ever so grateful for that! 

Now let’s hear a few scriptures that do establish God’s sovereignty and His awesome incomprehensibility to mortal man. Hear Zophar when he reproves Job: ‘Canst thou by searching find out God (search out the deep things of God)? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell (sheol); what canst thou know?’ (Job 11:7-8) And the answer to all of that my people is ‘Absolutely nothing!’ We can search all we want, but we’ll never find out the secrets of God, except those He releases to us in His Word. 

And Isaiah tells us in no uncertain terms: ‘Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.’ (Is. 40:28) And if you didn’t know that before, now yuh know! (smile) 

And Bruh Paul puts it this way to the church at Rome: ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!’ (Rom. 11:33) But then in Bruh Paul’s remarkable style, he continues by quoting us some of the Old Testament Scriptures on the matter; ‘For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed (repaid) unto him again?’ (Rom. 11:34-35) 

And the answer to all of those questions is simply ‘NOBODY!’ ‘For of him, and through him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.’ (Rom. 11:36) Yes friends, as the scholars explain: ‘11:36. God is the source of all things – of him; God is the channel of all things – through him; God is the goal of all things – to him; and Man’s only proper response to God is to worship Him.’ And that’s for certain sure! I just wish that more of mankind could and would realize that! But for those of us who do, let’s go home declaring (yeah!) our Thursday Blessings which the Lord has graciously and generously given to us to do His earthly work. 

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

Now let’s go out and share those blessings with others, just as generously as the Lord shared them with us! Much LOVE!

…O…the incomparability…the majesty…and the supremacy…of our great God…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 October 2019 Luke 17:17.

Luke 17:17.    ​And Jesus answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
Well it’s Sunday once again, but this time we coming to you from the hot and hazy capital of Jamaica, Kingston. Now the ole fella is a li’l bit in doubt here, for it’s shortly after five in the evening, and I can’t make up my mind whether we should have church or not, because there’s a lot of stuff to share with you re my recent activities in this wonderful land. In any case, whatever I decide, I will have to leave you shortly, until whenever I come back from dinner with one of my sisters. 
Oh yes, I have plenty sisters here in J.A; not the biological kind, but the even more important, actual caring and LOVING kind, who enriched my stay in J.A fifty something years ago! And those kinds of people are ever so important in our lives, whether you see them constantly, or once in a blue moon; just knowing that they are there, and they care, adds a whole lot of satisfaction and glow to our souls. Sorry, got to go now, sis is here. (smile) See you soon. 
Back now mih people, shortly after nine my time, but ten, for many of you. Tried mih best to get back sooner, but just couldn’t make it happen, couldn’t do mih sister a Spanish; eat and run. (smile) Then when I walked into the hotel lobby a group of medical people from the same graduating year were sitting there and they coerced me into joining them for about half an hour. And ah sorry, but the way it looks like we not having no church today. But don’t worry, the ole fella went to church this morning, up in the chapel on the university campus. 
To tell the truth, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been in there. I knew about it, but in those days I suspect that I was not as God conscious as I am now. However the service was good, though somewhat long, with plenty praise and worship. The young lady who led us in that was truly excited about leading worship and I believe her enthusiasm flowed over into many of us. The University Chorale sang for us; a truly fine group of singers. 
The service was a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the U.W.I Graduating Class of 1969 and the U.W.I Mona Library Open Week 2019, and the theme of the whole thing was ‘A HEART OF GRATITUDE!’ And as our preacher, Rev. Dr. Henroy Samuels so rightly said in his sermon, the graduates of that class who walked the campus some fifty years ago, looked good and were still healthy because of their heart of gratitude, exemplified by our return to celebrate and give thanks. Those were certainly true words. 
And the scripture was taken from Luke 17, where Jesus healed the ten lepers. The Good Book reports it thus: ‘And it came to pass, as he (Jesus) went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he (Jesus) entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ (Luke 17:11-13) They had to stay afar off because their illness was contagious. 
And as always, Jesus did show them mercy. ‘And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.’ (Luke 17:14) Back in those days, lepers were total outcasts and could only be integrated back into society, if they happened to get cleansed, by showing themselves to the priests and getting their permission. Thus Jesus’ directive for them to go to the priests. Now that’s the good part of the story, but what happens next is the kind of thing we’ve been talking about – a heart of gratitude. 
Hear the Good Book: ‘And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.’ (Luke 17:15-16) Right there we see a major problem. Ten men were healed, apparently nine were Jews and one a Samaritan, the bitter enemies of the Jews. But as life would have it, only the Samaritan returned to give thanks to Jesus and the Father. 
As the minister said this morning, who knows, the Jews who didn’t return and give thanks might have believed that because they were the Chosen People, they were entitled to it. and that’s a major problem in our society today! Too many of us believe we’re entitled to too much, and are not grateful and thankful for what we have. We complain so much about what we don’t have, instead of giving thanks for what we do have. But hear the end of the story: ‘And Jesus answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.’ (Luke 17:17-18) That was a stinging rebuke to His Jewish people. 
According to the scholars: ‘17:18. Stranger literally means “of another race of people”; it therefore refers to a Gentile. The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. This non-Jew, Jesus points out is more spiritually minded than the nine leprous Jews. Yet “strangers” (to cite a use of the word from outside of the Scripture) were forbidden to enter the temple’s inner confines by prominent signs in the temple precincts.’ I guess that might have made it somewhat difficult for the Samaritan to show himself to the priests. (smile) But anyway, good manners and a grateful heart dictated that the other nine should have returned to Jesus and gave Him thanks. 
They were brave and bold enough to beg Him for mercy, but when He showed them that mercy, they couldn’t even come and say a simple ‘Thank You Jesus!’ Unfortunately, that’s the way too many of us also behave today, even supposed believers. Too many of us are not grateful for all the Lord has done, is doing, and has promised to do on our behalf! And that is totally wrong my brethren. Now hear how Jesus ends it. ‘And he said unto to him, (the Samaritan), Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.’ (Luke 17:19) 
And as the scholars say: ‘17:19. All were healed, but only one gives Jesus thanks. His salvation is complete.’ Ah friends, yuh see the great difference some thanks and gratitude made: The Samaritan was granted salvation, while the Jews were still adrift in their ungratefulness. Please, don’t allow that to happen to us nuh. It doesn’t take a whole lot to say, thank you and be grateful. It could certainly make a big difference in our lives, both here on earth, and in heaven too. Much LOVE!
 
…it is our bounden duty…to give thanks and be grateful…for all the Lord’s blessings…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 October 2019 Matthew 14:33.

Matthew 14:33.    ​And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

 

And then it was Sunday…Oh beautiful Sunday! Time to join fellow believers in praise, worship and thanksgiving at the Lord’s house on His special day. What a wonderful privilege to come into His presence with others of like mind, to hear His Word, exalt His holy name and receive His awesome confidence, LOVE, mercy, grace and strength that enable us to keep on fighting the good fight in His name! So, without further ado, let’s do as we always do nuh, (smile) begin with a song of praise. And today’s song is aptly titled: ‘LOVE LIFTED ME!’ And so it did friends; Christ’s great LOVE for us, lifted us out of the mire of sin, through His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary that paid the price of sin for all time. 

But we all know that, so let’s check out something that we might not know, namely the story behind today’s hymn. According to the web site GodTube, it was written and published in 1912 by Arthur James Rowe (1865-1933), a copper miner’s son, an immigrant to the U.S from Ireland in 1889. He worked for ten years on the New York railroads, then became an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society. The hymn was inspired by two biblical stories, both about Jesus and His disciples on the stormy seas of Galilee. (Matt.14:22-33) & (Matt.8:23-27). ‘Rowe masterfully incorporates both stories, using sinking or being swamped into the sea as an illustration for “sinking deep in sin…sinking to rise no more.” Jesus, “Master of the sea,” hears our pleas for help, reaches out to us in LOVE, and lifts us up into the well being of grace.’ Oh what a beautiful description! 

So now that we have some idea of what the hymn is all about, let’s sing it nuh, in strong, soulful voice, with exquisite harmony, and much sincere thanks and gratitude appropriately flowing from our hearts. Altogether now: ‘I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me, now safe am I. (Refrain: LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me. LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me.) 

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling, In his blessed presence live, ever his praises sing. LOVE so mighty and so true merits my soul’s best songs; Faithful LOVING service, too, to Him belongs. [Refrain] Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves; He will lift you by His LOVE out of the angry waves; He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey, He, your Saviour wants to be, be saved today. [Refrain: LOVE lifted me…When nothing could help…LOVE lifted me…’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my fellow believers? It’s only something as powerful as LOVE that could have ever lifted us out of the depths of sin! The amazing LOVE of Jesus is the only thing ‘that can lift us out of despair to salvation.’ Now let’s refresh our memories about those two stories on which today’s hymn was based. The first one tells us about Jesus entering a ship with His disciples. ‘And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ (Matt.8:24-27) 

Ah friends, as the hymn says, Jesus is the ‘Master of the sea.’ He was intimately involved in making it, therefore, it must do as He directs it. The second story happens after Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. When Jesus heard of it, He was saddened, and took a ship to a deserted place to be alone. But the crowds followed Him, and Jesus being Jesus, was filled with compassion and He taught them and healed their sick, then later on He fed them; five thousand men, beside women and children. (Matt.14:1-14) After that, He sent the disciples away in a ship, dispersed the multitude, then went up into a mountain by himself to pray. However, while Jesus was up on the mountain praying, the disciples were having an extremely hard time crossing the sea of Galilee because of a severe storm, brewed up by a contrary wind. 

By the fourth watch (3-6 a.m.) they were obviously tired from rowing all night and not making much progress. Then suddenly this apparition appeared unto them walking on the water. They claimed it was a ghost and cried out in fear. ‘But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I, be not afraid. Then Peter with his impulsive self blurted out: ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee  on the water. And he said,  Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous (violent) he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.’ (Matt.14:27-33) 

Ah mih people, please note Jesus response in both situations: ‘O ye of little faith.’ He challenged them on the substance of their faith. They had seen Him do all sorts of miracles, yet still they were scared of their own shadows. When He walked on water to them, a few hours earlier they had seen him feed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fishes, and still pick up twelve full baskets of left overs. So why should they be so afraid seeing Him walk and water and calm the stormy seas eh? The sad part of the story though is that unfortunately, we are in the same boat as the disciples. We talk a good talk, but when adversity strikes, we forget all the wonderful miracles that Jesus has done in our lives, and we too cry out in faithless fear. 

But the long and short of the story is that we know much more about Jesus and how He works, than the disciples did, so we ought not to be as afraid as so many of us are. Each adversity we undergo, and He brings us through successfully, ought to build our faith and make us stronger. So please, let’s ponder on all that we’ve said today nuh, and promise ourselves to try and do better, faith wise, with God’s help of course. Jesus needs us to show strong faith to the unbelievers, so that they too will want to share His salvation! Much LOVE!

…it should not be as hard for us…as it was for the disciples…to truly believe…that Jesus is the Son of God…

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