Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 April 2021 John 3:16.

John 3:16.     ​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.

So friends, we have at last come to that sorrowful day of mourning in the lives of Christ’s followers! A day that we contrarily call Good Friday. But the truth is, that day, two thousand years ago, was one in which a most horrific crime was committed, the inhumane abuse and eventual crucifixion of Jesus Christ on an old, rugged cross on the hill of Calvary on the outskirts of Jerusalem. And the unbelievable thing is that this took place, less than a week after they had welcomed Him in such a wonderful manner on Palm Sunday, hailing Him as their Saviour, their Immanuel, with Hosannas to the Son of David! 

And it’s not so much the crucifixion itself that was most hurtful, but the shameful manner in which the dastardly act was perpetrated. As the song, ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ puts it, that Cross was and still is ‘the emblem of suffering and shame.’ But the most important point of that day is the purpose behind Christ’s crucifixion, why He allowed Himself to be so abused and demeaned. Hear His fateful words on the subject as He talks about there being one fold and one shepherd in His kingdom. 

‘Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it up again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18) Yes friends, as Jesus said, they didn’t take His life from Him, He gave it to them, willingly, so that a world of lost sinners could be saved, so that our horrible sins could be forgiven by a just and righteous God the Father, otherwise we would be heading directly to eternal damnation! 

But Christ’s sacrifice on that old, rugged cross gave us another option, a most wonderful one, that of reconciliation with our Creator! And all God’s children declared a loud and grateful: ‘All praise to Jesus and His atoning death on our behalf!’ And what’s so great about Jesus’ sacrifice, is that the Father didn’t force Him to do it, but He did it willingly, because of His LOVE for the Father, and knowing the Father’s great LOVE for us! And that’s why we call it Good Friday, because the good of salvation, of atonement, of sin debt relief in full was embedded in, and born of that fateful act! 

Oh, glory be mih people! What a mighty and unselfish act! And that’s why we cherish that old, rugged cross, though it’s the ‘emblem of suffering and shame,’ the manifestation of an act that could only be described as ‘sufferation!’ And yuh know what friends? We ‘LOVE that old cross with the dearest and best, for a world of lost sinners were saved.’ And we’ll keep cherishing that old, rugged cross ‘till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old, rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.’ 

Oh my fellow saints, what a wonderful Saviour Christ is! Who else would have spilled His divine blood on a rugged, man-made cross for a bunch of ungrateful sinners eh? NOBODY! In fact, nobody else possessed the ability to pay for the sins of a lost and fallen world, just the sinless Son of God. And God LOVED us so much, despite the bunch of disobedient ingrates we had become, that He broke His own heart and sent His Son to earth to sacrifice His life on our behalf, so that we could have an opportunity to be reconciled to Him. Now if that isn’t real, true LOVE,I don’t what is nuh. 

As Jesus so graciously puts it. ‘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.’ (John 3:16) Yes precious people, all we need to do is believe in Christ, and we become saved, sanctified, justified, forgiven, indwelt by His Holy Spirit, with our name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that means eternal life with Christ! Now what could ever be better than that eh? Absolutely NOTHING! 

So those of us who simply refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour are just fooling ourselves, laying down a most unwelcome path to eternal damnation with that ole fool Satan, when we could have a most excellent journey through eternity with Christ. But as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. And that’s the same way with us hard-headed, stubborn sinners, who believe in the now pleasures of sin, and don’t think of the serious then consequences of our ungodly behaviour. 

Oh yes, there are always consequences to sin, because our righteous and just God can’t stand sin, can’t stand disobedience, and the pleasures of sin only last for a fleeting moment, while the consequences can last a lifetime, even an eternity. So my people, there’s no better day to embrace Christ and all that He stands for, than on this Good Friday, when He selflessly gave His life, His all for us, so that we could be filled with new and eternal life. 

And do we ever need His saving grace in this time of pandemic and strife that’s engulfing our entire world. So please, let’s go to Him in prayer nuh, the medium that He’s set out to communicate with us. So as one strong, sincere, but humble voice, let’s offer up our Friday Chant. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. Yuh know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the racial strife causing. We not accustomed to that kind of life Lord, and it really telling on us. And we know we can’t handle it on our own, that we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, so that we can avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and show the Lord that we are indeed faithful believers nuh, by handling the situation in a godly manner! Much LOVE!

…weeping may endure for a night…but joy comes in the morning…Easter Sunday soon come…

P.S. I didn’t forget the ordinary workingman’s spiel, but he was so angry today because the province wide lockdown that starts tomorrow, has cancelled his long awaited return to work, and he bluntly refused to talk to us. Them’s the breaks! (smile) Much LOVE!

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8              

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 February 2021 2 Corinthians 5:21.

2 Corinthians 5:21.     ​For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Snow, snow, go away, and come back some other day! (smile) That’s what we would all like this Sunday morning my brethren, but let’s be thankful for small mercies, namely that we don’t have to journey out in it to get to church to sing praises and worship our wonderful God. Yes, this virtual and technological worshipping is a pain in the neck, but it’s certainly better than no worship at all. 

So to show our thanks let’s begin by belting out this marvelous old hymn with lyrics by Isaac Watts (1674 – 1748) and the chorus by Ralph E. Hudson (1843-1901) Yes friends, we talking about ‘At the Cross.’ What a wonderful hymn, for it speaks to our most wonderful gift; SALVATION! Glory be! 

Let’s celebrate in song, our two blessed occasions nuh; when Christ was crucified for our sake and when we found Him and made Him our Lord and Saviour. Now, in an easy rocking tempo, with joy resounding from every note and word, let’s allow our sincere sacrifice of praise to be heard all over the world, and also in high heaven.

(Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!) ‘Alas! and did my Savior bleed And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head For sinners such as I? (Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!) 

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine— And bathed in its own blood— While the firm mark of wrath divine, His Soul in anguish stood. (Refrain) Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree! (Refrain) Well might the sun in darkness hide And shut his glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker died, For man the creature’s sin. 

(Refrain) Thus might I hide my blushing face While His dear cross appears, Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, And melt my eyes to tears. (Refrain) But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of LOVE I owe: Here, Lord, I give my self away ’Tis all that I can do. At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day! Now I am happy all the day…happy all the day…happy all the day…’ 

Oh my people, if you’re not happy all the day, then you don’t truly believe! Why you ask? Simply becauseour salvation was certainly earned at the Cross, for as the Good Book says: ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23) And what’s the consequence of sin? The Good Book also spells it out quite clearly. ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom. 6:23) 

And how is death changed into life? The Good Book also has the answer for that. ‘And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without (the) shedding of blood (there) is no remission (forgiveness). (Heb. 9:22) That means friends, that all sinners were condemned to death from the very beginning of their lives because no animal or human blood was able to pay for us to have life anew. That could only be attained by the shedding of the blood of a sinless soul, and Jesus was the ONLY One around who could lay claim to that characteristic. 

So what did Almighty God in His divine wisdom and incalculable LOVE do? ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.’ (2 Cor. 5:21) Yes my people, God placed ALL of our sin on Jesus, so that He could pay the price for ALL sin for ALL time! Christ was guiltless and sinless, but the Father LOVED us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son for us. Oh my bredrin, which one of us would have given up our only son to be a sacrifice for a bunch of ingrates eh? None of us would have willingly done it, like the Father did! 

So we should just be thankful and jump for joy and just fall all over ourselves to do Jesus’ bidding! Can you imagine the ‘sufferation’ He underwent on our behalf; the flogging, the crown of thorns on his head, the nails in His hands and feet, the spear in His side, crucified naked, the mocking, the shame, the resentment and hate that was thrown His way…all on our behalf? As the hymn says about Jesus bruised and battered body ‘bathed in its own blood…His soul in anguish stood…for crimes that I had done…’ Steups! Then we get up and spout a whole lot of foolishness and don’t take the whole thing as seriously as we ought. 

And simple eyes-water is not good enough. Why? ‘But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of LOVE I owe. Here, Lord, I give myself away ‘Tis all that I can do.’ Yes friends, we can never repay Jesus’ sacrifice, the best that we can do is surrender our lives to Him and worship Him as our Lord and Saviour, LOVE Him with all our hearts, souls, bodies and minds, being ever so thankful for His saving grace. And John puts it thus in his first epistle. ‘And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’ (1 John 2:2) 

That means Christ’s sacrificial death satisfied the Father’s requirement, the justice needed to pay for sin, now and for all time. What more can we ask eh? And some of us might be wondering why the Lord did all of that? Bruh Paul explained it to Timothy. ‘Who will (desires to) have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.’ (1 Tim. 2:4-6) 

Yes my fellow saints in Christ, Jesus’ sacrifice was proof that the Father wanted ALL to be converted. So he’s done His part, the rest is now up to us. Much LOVE!

…the foot of the cross…the best place to find Jesus…and lay your burdens down…  

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 January 2021 Psalm 24:1.

Psalm 24:1.     ​The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Welcome to the first Monday in 2021! Who knows what it holds for any and all of us eh? Nobody but Jesus! So doesn’t it make sense to get in touch with Jesus, or consult Him if we want to know what’s happening? That seems like the wise and logical thing to do. But sadly, a lot of us refuse to do it, foolishly thinking that we’re better off without Him. But how can that be eh friends, when He controls everything, and everything belongs to Him? Bruh David said it in Psalm 24: ‘The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods (rivers)’ (Ps. 24:1-2) 

And the New International Readers Version (NIRV) explains it in everyday language: ‘The earth belongs to the Lord. And so does everything in it. The world belongs to him. And so do all those who live in it.’ Yes my people, nothing really belongs to us, we are only stewards of the Lord’s possessions here on earth, and it behooves us to take good care of, to look after what’s His with the same dedication and diligence as if it were ours. And if you are a believer in Christ, then stewardship of His assets are a necessary part of your duties. 

And I like this quote on the Importance of Stewardship found on the Christianity.com website: ‘According to scripture, God created Earth for mankind and we are now stewards of His creation. This means it is our responsibility to look after and take care of this world. We should accept this responsibility and appreciate God’s gift of creation for being our home. Our stewardship of creation involves the caretaking of the environment and animals as well as our families and communities. Being a good steward in this world is one way of expressing our LOVE for God and our gratitude to Him.’ 

And God made His desires very clear right at the beginning of the game. The Good Book tells us that after He made man in his own image, creating both male and female. ‘And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Gen. 1:28) Then later on it further tells us: ‘ The Lord God took the man (Adam) and put him in the garden of Eden to dress (work) it and keep it. (Gen. 2:15) 

Yes friends, Adam and Eve’s job was to work the land, till it, look after the garden like a garden should be looked after. And nothing has really changed since then, except that man has fallen into sin. But the earth is still the Lord’s, and we’re still responsible for taking care of it. And I don’t need to tell us that we haven’t done such a good job, because we can all see it in the ravaged, unpredictable climate, disaster-filled, world we now inhabit. I’m sure that breaks Jesus heart since He also told us during His earthly sojourn that it was our job to look after whatever the Father has given us. 

And the parable of the talents is a good example of that, of personal preparation and faithful service to our Master. ‘For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several (own) ability; and straightway took his journey.’ (Matt. 25:14-15) Now that symbolizes the gifts God has given to each of us. Not all of us got the same ones or the same amount. But He expects us to use whatever He’s given us profitably. We’re all entrusted with different tasks and the gifts or ability to perform them. 

But it turns out that when the Master returned, the one with five talents had invested his and made five more, while the one with two talents had also invested his and made two more. However, the one with only one talent went and hid it in the ground, and only had the Master’s original money to give Him when He came back. Obviously the first two were treated well, ‘Welcome thou good and faithful servants,’ and promised further honour in the future. But the last one was called ‘Thou wicked and slothful (lazy) servant.’ And his talent was taken away and given to those who had more. 

And that’s how it’s going to be when Jesus comes back to sit on His throne; those who have wasted their gifts, not made any productive use of them to further God’s kingdom, ‘shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matt.25.30) And Peter corroborated Jesus’ words when he said: ‘As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.’ (1 Pet. 4:10) 

Oh my people, we are to use our various gifts and talents to serve each other as well as to further God’s kingdom in this evil world. That’s why He entrusted us with the many gifts we have. And Bruh Paul gave this advice to the Colossians, re their domestic life. In particular to the servants. ‘And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.’ (Col. 3:23-24) 

Yes friends, even servants can carry out their menial tasks with enthusiasm, because in the long run, they are serving God and not man, and from God they will receive the inheritance of salvation not from man. The same thing applies to us my fellow saints in Christ. We must carry out our earthly duties as though we’re carrying them out for God, and not man, because it’s God who will reward us in the end, not mankind. And this last scripture puts it all in a nutshell. ‘For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain.’ (Titus 1:7) Oh so true my brethren! 

Now it’s time to turn to the Lord for help in renewing our activities, so we can better use our gifts and talents to further His kingdom. Let’s plead to Him through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. As one voice: ‘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 standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. 

We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

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 to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, 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!’ 

Now when He looks at our hearts, please let Him see right motives and sincere desire to do His will. Much LOVE!

…a gracious gift…should always be treasured… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 December 2020 Luke 2:17.

Luke 2:17.     ​And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
MERRY CHRISTMAS !

It’s a cold, snowy Friday morning…but it’s Christmas Day, and wonder of wonders we do have a white Christmas, something we don’t see as often, in these days of climate change. Yesterday evening it was raining, but the snow fell during the night and made everything a beautiful virgin white, that is until mankind gets involved. (smile) 

So Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my wonderful Scrip-Bit friends and family! Hope the Lord continues to be good to all of us in the new year. And why wouldn’t He be eh, if we continue to be obedient and reverent to him? No reason whatsoever! 

And talking about years, this old one of 2020 was indeed an unexpected, unique, provoking and very testing year. But glory to God, we all came through it safely. Let’s give the Lord some thanks and praise for that, because it’s only with His divine help that we made it through without any serious problems. 

Consequently, on this joyful Christmas morn, when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born in that li’l town of Bethlehem, we can sit back, relax and contemplate what it all means to believers everywhere. Remember, JESUS is the ONE and ONLY reason for the season. The reason we can eat drink and be merry and call out greetings to each other. So please don’t let your day be consumed with just festive merriment, but do take a few moments to quietly ponder what it all meant back then, and what it still means today. 

In fact, let’s do that right now nuh. Let’s try and recreate the scene on that long ago, first Christmas Day. Remember, it was just a seemingly ordinary wintry evening, with the universe unfolding as it should. And let’s do it in song nuh, with this wonderful Annunciation of the heavenly birth. 

Please sing along with me: ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground, the angel of the Lord came down and glory shone around. “Fear not,” said he – for mighty dread had seized their troubled minds –“Glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and all mankind: “To you in David’s town this day is born of David’s line a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. 

And this shall be the sign: “The heavenly babe you there shall find to human view displayed, all meanly wrapped in swathing bands and in a manger laid.” Thus spoke the seraph, and forthwith appeared a shining throng of angels praising God, who thus addressed their joyful song: “All glory be to God on high, and to the earth be peace; goodwill henceforth from highest heaven begin and never cease!” 

Oh friends what a wonderful heavenly declaration! But it had the poor shepherds terrible afraid. And it would have had us afraid too, if that heavenly throng just appeared from out of nowhere and made that most climatic statement. But please note to whom the Lord made the first declaration of Jesus’ birth; the lowly and humble shepherds out in the fields, not any great kings or powerful and important people. 

And yuh see where He caused Him to be born too, in a lowly stable. Imagine that nuh…the Son of God being born in a dirty stable and not a sumptuous palace. That’s because Jesus came to be a servant not a king by earth’s standards, to save the sick and suffering, the poor, lowly and downtrodden. 

And I like how the shepherds reacted. The Good Book tells us that after the angels had gone back to heaven, they said to each other; ‘Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.’ (Luke 2:15) Yeh friends, yuh see, despite their fear, they decided to check out the good news. If it was important enough for angels to declare it, then it was important enough for them to go and check it out. They did it afraid. And that’s exactly how we ought to operate in these rough and trying times. 

Anyway, the Good Book continues: ‘And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger (feed trough).And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered (marvelled) at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.’ (Luke 2:16-20) 

Ah mih bredrin, do we ever need to spread the beautiful news of Christ’s gospel and praise and glorify our great and wonderful God this day for all that He’s done for us! He didn’t need to do anything for us, just let us go our merry way rejoicing into hell with the devil. But through His awesome, undying and unconditionalLOVEfor the ungrateful creatures He had spawned, He couldn’t in good conscience allow us to go down that road to eternal damnation without giving us an opportunity to redeem ourselves. 

So on that cold, starry, ordinary winter’s night, He put His amazing plan for salvation into motion. In that dirty, smelly stable, a baby boy was born into this evil world, and they would call His name Jesus; the Son, the Saviour, the Messiah, who would be the means of ultimate salvation for all and sundry. Bless our God’s holy name my brethren, for just that act alone ought to endear Him to us for ever and ever! Amen! 

Oh my people, I don’t know what else to say or do to get us to really and truly appreciate the greatness of our God and the overwhelming LOVE He bears for us nuh. So let us go home, and we going to forego our Friday Chant because I don’t think today the Lord wants to hear our whining and complaining about our problems, most of which we brought on ourselves through our obstinate disobedience. He needs some praise and worship for the great gift He’s bestowed on us this day, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

So let’s go home singing and praising instead nuh: Loud and strong and harmonious: ‘Hark! The herald angels sing” Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled” Joyful, all ye nations rise Join the triumph of the skies With angelic hosts proclaim: “Christ is born in Bethlehem” Hark! the herald angels sing: “Glory to the newborn King!” Christ by highest Heav’n adored Christ the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come Offspring of a Virgin’s womb Veiled in flesh the Godhead see: Hail the incarnate Deity Pleased as man with man to dwell Jesus, our Emmanuel 

Hark! the herald angels sing: “Glory to the newborn King! Hail the Heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings Ris’n with healing in His wings Mild He lays His glory by Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth Hark! the herald angels sing: “Glory to the newborn King!” Hark! the herald angels sing: “Glory to the newborn King!” 

Yes friends, today is a day for much praise and thanks and generosity. Let’s remember Nehemiah’s awesome words to the children of Israel and action them as best we can: ‘Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) 

That says it all my faithful friends in Christ! Much LOVE!

…Christmas…it’s just the beginning of the Christian’s joyful life… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 December 2020 Romans 5:8.

Romans 5:8.     ​But God commendeth (demonstrated) his (own) LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

‘Good golly Miss Molly! It’s Monday!’ Yes friends, the Monday before Christmas, four more days to the Big One! Are you ready for it? Have you done all your Christmas shopping? Hn, hn! It will certainly be a different kind of Christmas this pandemic year of 2020; not as much physical gathering, nor even eating and drinking and exchanging of gifts, as lots of people can’t afford the stuff they are accustomed buying. But that doesn’t mean the season can’t be festive, if we remember the real reason for the season in the first place -the birth of Christ. 

Now that was the first step in God’s long promised, great gift of reconciling us to Himself and providing salvation and eternal life through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. But to die as a man, Christ first had to be born, born of that virgin mother, in that li’l town called Bethlehem, before He could eventually make His way to the cross in Jerusalem and pay our sin debt in full. 

Wow! No other supposed deity is as magnanimous as our God! All those other supposed gods want us to sacrifice our lives to them, but the wonderful God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sacrificed His Son for us woeful sinners to show His amazing unconditional LOVE! As the Good Book says: ‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his (own) LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 5:8) All praise and glory to His holy name! 

And all He asks of us is to believe in His Son and be obedient to His word. But because of the free will God gave us, too many of us are filled with pride and lust and big egos and hard hearts, and thus refuse to bow down to the name that’s above every other name. Now though our God is gracious and merciful and all those other wonderful things, He’s also a stickler for justice and righteousness and obedience, and the non-doing of those things usually cause serious consequences in our lives. And when plenty of us refuse to toe the line, like right now, that means there are plenty of serious consequence in our world, like right now. 

Jesus also said: ‘If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15) And though we claim to LOVE Him, we definitely aren’t keeping His commandments the way He desires, otherwise our world would not be in such a terrible mess. Even this big do we make about Christmas, a lot of it is false and/or pseudo-Christianity, because our attention is more wrapped up in the gifts and food and shopping, the commercial aspect of the situation, not truly in the birth of Christ and what it really meant, and still means for mankind. 

The celebration has taken on too much of a worldly and commercial overtone these days, meaning, that like so much else in this world, the things of God have taken a step or two back, and no longer predominate in our society. And that should give us serious cause for concern my people, for when a society has lost its way, when Almighty God is not first and foremost in the equation, then that society, like Humpty Dumpty, is slated for a fall, and ofttimes a rather big fall at that, from which it never recovers its previous prosperity. 

And right now, I believe we are at that stage, at the brink of the precipice, because God is no longer Number One in our society. Oh yes, we talk the talk, but remember He looks at our hearts, and currently the motives therein are not God-centred. So what’s the position eh? It’s dark and dreary…unless we come to our senses and return to the ways of God; ways that our forefathers embraced more faithfully than we have done. 

Friends, the only thing that can save us now is a revolution; a LOVE Revolution, for there is way more hate and negativity in our world right now than there is LOVE! And remember God is LOVE! So the less LOVE we have, the less of God we will also have. But we are people of faith, great faith, and anything we put our minds to, we can do, provided we have God involved. So if we require a LOVE Revolution to save our world, then we need to go to God to help us. As Jesus specified: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ (Matt. 7:7) 

And the way we go to God is in prayer; that’s His desire. So as one sincere voice, let’s take all our problems to Him now nuh, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. ‘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 standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. 

We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

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 to bring our problems under control. And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, 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!’ 

Now let me remind us again, that the Lord looks at the motives of our hearts before He answers our prayers, so if they weren’t right just now, and we’re not prepared to turn back to Him in true repentance, then we’ll be left out in the darkness, with no forthcoming light, a rather sad situation indeed. Much LOVE!

…to have a successful society…the LOVE of God…must predominate… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 December 2020 Matthew 5:14.

Mathew 5:14.     ​Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Yes friends, we pretty late this chilly Saturday morning. And as usual, it’s because the ole fella did one of his real late nights, or early mornings, and the ole bod rebelled at getting up at the normal time without sufficient rest. (smile) And who says our body doesn’t have a mind of its own eh? So we’ll just get right down to business on this last Saturday before Christmas. 

Just imagine it nuh, Christmas is only six days away! And what a joyful time it will be, despite the many problems and much strife in our current world, because the birth of Jesus was the beginning of true hope for mankind. Glory be! And every time His birthday rolls around we’re filled with such hope, joy, LOVE, wonder and gratitude that we set aside our earthly problems to rejoice in His everlasting goodness, grace and mercy! So let’s see what our friend Anselm had to tell us this past week nuh, as he aspired to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

And the new style persists, of prefacing each quote with these words: ‘Positive affirmation you should tell yourself to remind yourself just how awesome you are. I’m calm, happy, and content.’ But then I have to turn around and remind us that we can only be all those things if we’re truly in partnership with Jesus, for awesomeness, calmness, happiness and contentment don’t occur unless you have a strong personal relationship with the One who provides those things; Jesus Christ! Matter done! 

So to the quotes, and I believe we can tie the first two together: ‘I’m bold, beautiful, and brilliant,’ and ‘My body shape is perfect in the way it’s intended to be.’ And yes, we ought to become bold, beautiful and brilliant when we become members of Christ’s august body, the church, because according to Bruh Paul: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold ALL THINGS are become new.’ (2 Cor. 5:17) 

And when all things become new in Christ my brethren then we do become bold and beautiful and brilliant because we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God which is sent to live in us and make us that way; bring us to a wonderful maturity in Christ! Give Him some thanks and praise nuh! And that maturity in Christ certainly gives our spiritual bodies a perfect body shape. I can’t say the same for the physical aspect, although with Christ in us and we in Him, some have been known to pursue right eating and consistent exercise to make our physical bodies look pleasing to the eye of the beholder. (smile) 

Then there’s this quote: ‘ I’m open to new adventures in my life.’ Oh yes friends, when we work and live for Jesus, we’re always open to new adventures. We have to be, because undertaking or being involved in new adventures is one of the many ways He uses us to promote His gospel. As a member of Christ’s church and body, you can be sure that life will not be humdrum and very ordinary all the time. 

Something new, or some variation of the old will always crop up to keep you on your toes, actively involved in His awesome ministry. And I can testify to that from personal experience. Since I’ve gotten closer to God, so many unexpected things have happened in my life, that sometimes I just have to sit down and ponder them in true amazement. So yes, walking with Christ is an adventure in itself. 

But this next quote, ‘I’m free to create the life I desire,’ is definitely not true if you are a serious believer in Christ. And to tell the truth, you’re not even free to create the life you desire if you hold the prince of darkness as your standard bearer, because he too makes certain unwarranted and disliked demands of his followers, which don’t fall into step with their own plans for their lives. So you’re never totally free to live the life you desire, because as they say, you have to bow to somebody; either God or mammon. 

And even then, life itself takes pleasure in throwing a monkey wrench into our best laid plans. But the best of all the worlds though is bowing to Christ Jesus, the One who’s name is above EVERY other name, and the One to whom EVERY knee will eventually have to bow. So the earlier you do that, the better it is for all concerned. (smile) 

That brings us to this last quote: ‘I allow my light to shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.’ Now that will certainly please the heart of Jesus, for that’s what He longed for, when He spoke these encouraging words during His earthly sojourn. ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (a lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt. 5:14-15) 

And that’s the indisputable truth friends; a city that’s set on a hill can’t hide its light, neither do we light a light only to then hide it. But light is to drive away darkness and that’s what Jesus came to earth to do; to drive away the darkness from our imprisoned lives, give us a future and a hope, an expected end, not calamity, which darkness will always cause since you can’t see where you’re going. And that’s why too His word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light to our path; (Ps. 119:105) so that it can safely guide us as we traverse this dark and evil world. 

That’s why Jesus’ next words are ever so important. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) Oh my people, we are Christ’s ambassadors in this dark world, that means He expects us to shine brightly, to do His work diligently and efficiently, so that all the world can see what His Father and Him and the Holy Spirit are all about; abundant earthly life, LOVE, joy, salvation and eternal life! 

And only as we diligently spread the Word and sincerely live the example, will others be willing to embrace our wonderful God and all that He so gloriously stands for! And when that happens, then we make that last quote ever so true; our light shining brightly, and allowing others to shine their light’s brightly too, so that God can be greatly and wonderfully glorified! Much LOVE!

…in this oh so dark world…Christians need to turn on their high beams…right now…  

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 November 2020 Ephesians 2:8.

Ephesians 2:8.     ​For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (the expression of His goodness toward the undeserving).

Come Tuesday – another nice summery day, just like Monday! Oh yes, that would indeed be wonderful my people! That’s why we need to give much thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings He’s continually bestowing on us. As the psalmist so rightly says: ‘This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.‘ (Ps. 118:23-24) 

Wow! What awesome words of wisdom and truth! And don’t forget what our Lord and Saviour Jesus said on the subject. ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal and destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) 

Mama Mia! If that isn’t a direct directive (smile) of our Lord’s to enjoy and be thankful for this earthly life, then I don’t know what is nuh! In addition to salvation and eternal life when our frail and fragile bodies wear out and return to the dust from which they came, He also desires us to enjoy and prosper and succeed in this earthly life. Oh, He certainly knows that it will not always be wine and song, because like us, He experienced trials and tribulations too. As the Good Book proclaims: ‘For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (our weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ (Heb. 4:15) 

Yes my brethren, Jesus experienced all the problems that we experience down here on this evil and ungodly earth, but never did you see Him miserable and downcast, regardless of the circumstances He faced. Just look at how brutally they treated Him in His own home town of Nazareth nuh. I like how the website waynestiles.com puts it. ‘When Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth, He found a warm welcome at the synagogue—that is, until He preached. The young carpenter claimed to have fulfilled the messianic prophecy He had just read from Isaiah 61:1–2 (Luke 4:16-30). 

The hearers took offense that the local-yokel Jesus would dare to be remarkable. After all, wasn’t He the guy who built their dining tables? The townspeople were so enraged that they took Jesus to the edge of the Nazareth Ridge and wanted to fling Him off into the Jezreel Valley. But He passed through their midst and departed. You think that made for awkward subsequent holiday gatherings?’ 

Yes friends, Jesus always exuded a good attitude, which He also expects His followers to exemplify. No, it’s not easy, and He promised us that it wouldn’t be, but with His help we could make it. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) And if we’re finding it difficult of be of good cheer, then we can always go to our understanding and sympathetic High Priest, who will empathize with us and enable us to have good cheer. 

Hear the author of Hebrews on the topic nuh. ‘Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:16) Brother! Mercy and grace are the two great attributes the Lord uses in our everyday lives. Mercy is not receiving what we ought to, for example punishment for some disobedient act. Many of us know about that from our youth when our parents mercifully did not punish us for some verboten behaviour. 

While grace…ohhh…grace is so marvellous, that there are no words to truly explain it. It’s basically God’s favour; the wonderful things He does for us that we do not deserve. Even salvation is through grace. The Good Book puts it thus: ‘For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (the expression of His goodness toward the undeserving). Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ (Eph. 2:8-9) So grace is the basis of our salvation, the unmerited favour of God. 

The scholars offer this acrostic of grace. ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth, for it’s only through the expense of Christ’s life on the cross at Calvary did we receive salvation and the marvellous promise of eternal life! 

And hear this li’l tidbit from the great English Baptist Preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) affectionately known as ‘The Prince of Preachers.’ On the subject of ‘By Grace Ye Are Saved,’ he apparently wrote: ‘It is by the grace of God that ungodly men are preserved from instant death. The sharp axe of justice would soon fell the barren tree if the interceding voice of Jesus did not cry, “Spare him yet a little.” And isn’t that the indisputable truth! Were it not for Jesus, the sharp axe of justice would certainly have fallen on sinful, disobedient, ungodly man long ago. 

And yuh know friends, there’s only ONE real reason for all of that mercy and grace yes; God’s unconditional, irrational, indisputable, undying LOVE for us, His sinful and disobedient creation. Hear the Good Book: ‘But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great LOVE wherewith he LOVED us.’ (Eph. 2:4) And Jesus verified it, like only He could. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) And that says it all my precious saints of Christ! 

So for those of us who sincerely believe, and also try to be diligent and excellent followers of Christ, wisely accepting God’s LOVE, grace and mercy, let’s go home now declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, boldly and confidently proclaiming to the whole world, who and whose we are! 

All together now, 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 the natural consequence of that pledge is for us to keep on trusting Jesus and generously share His awesome LOVE with others! Much LOVE!

…without God’s grace and mercy…His LOVE would have been just an ordinary word… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 November 2020 Philippians 3:14.

Philippians 3:14.     ​I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Okay, so the bubble hasn’t burst yet, there is no clear winner of the U.S. Presidential Election, but His Imperial Dictatorship in Waiting, has already declared it as being rigged and planning to fight it in the courts. I wonder if he will do that if he wins eh? However, knowing the eccentricities of His Dictatorship, anything is possible where he is concerned. (smile) 

Ah mih people, rougher days seem to be ahead. Can you imagine it eh, after all the fire ringed hoops we’ve been forced to jump through in the last six months, we might still have more serious ones to navigate? No, it’s not a pleasing thought, but please let’s not get any more worried and/or frustrated than we already are. Let’s remember that we are children of the Most High God Jehovah, living in a world that He created and still controls, and nothing happens without Him allowing it. No, He doesn’t always create or begin something, but unless it falls into line with His imperial and divine plan it does not last! 

Furthermore, He has faithfully promised to never leave nor forsake us, and that no weapon formed against us will ever prosper, not in this lifetime or the next. So if we sincerely believe that He is our rock and our fortress, our high tower and divine protector, then we should not be overly worried about what’s happening around us in these troubling times. Concerned, yes, but not worried, otherwise our faith is worthless. For, as the Good Book states: ‘Faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for. The evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb. 11:1) 

Yes my fellow saints, in God’s realm, we need to hope for and believe we have received things we haven’t yet seen! That’s the basic difference between the believer and the unbeliever; the former being able to wait expectantly and see through their eyes of faith, stuff that hasn’t happened as yet, once it’s in accord with God’s will. And in these troubled times, that is exactly where many of us are failing, are falling down. Our hope and faith levels are too low. But remember, it’s only in tough times that our faith and hope do grow. When life is good and easy, faith and hope merely exist in a kind of vacuum, waiting for the tough times to come along. 

And above all, the Lord wants us to grow in hope and faith, to become spiritually mature in the manner and character of His son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! That’s why, sometimes, in times like these, He tests our faith to see what we’re truly made of. He tests our mettle, to see if we can really walk the plenty talk we usually have in the good times. Our God desires to see if our salt is still full of flavour, and thus useful, and also if our lights can still burn bright and thus give light to the dark world that surrounds us. 

Oh fellow believers in Christ, our Lord is expecting us to stand strong in these crucial times. He’s expecting us to be examples of fortitude and perseverance, of help and encouragement to those who are shaking it rough. To be good ambassadors of his holy kingdom and take His word and His dedication to those around us. We can’t save or proselytize the whole world, but we can certainly be fully flavoured salt and bright lights to those in our neighbourhood. And I just came across and interesting scripture from Bruh Paul that I believe will be of much benefit to us this Wednesday morning. 

Hear him to the church at Philippi: ‘Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (reached spiritual maturity, fully knowing Christ): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) 

Oh friends, that is the kind of attitude we need to adopt in these trying times. Let’s forget what has gone before, our successes and failures, and press on, move forward, towards the high calling that God has in mind for each of His children. Yes, He has a unique plan for each and every one of us, as Jeremiah says, a good plan, one to give us a hope and a future. And that high calling pertains to us knowing Christ better and better, and becoming more like Him in character and purpose as the Lord raises us from glory to glory! 

And here are some interesting explanations from the scholars. ‘3:13. Those things which are behind refers both to his (Bruh Paul’s) religious credentials (vs.5-6), now counted as “loss” (vs.7), and to his past Christian achievements and successes. In ever pursuing his goal to know Christ (vs. 10), he refuses to let past guilt pull him down, or to rest on his past laurels. Either could spell spiritual disaster. Those things which are before refers to his goal of knowing Christ, with all that implies: experiencing His power and participating in His suffering, becoming more like Him in death (vs. 10), and experiencing the resurrected life (vs. 11).’ 

Wow mih bredrin! Are those ever high and noble goals for us to live up to eh? But it’s what our heavenly Father desires of us, and simple fact is that we can’t approach Jesus’ stature if we just live the good life and don’t suffer some of His problems. (smile) 

And per our Bit, the scholars explain: ‘3:14. The mark is the objective of vs.10-11 (i.e., knowing Christ). The prize is the personal satisfaction of having attained it, as well as the divine commendation and reward to be granted in heaven for having reached this goal on earth. The high calling of God is the divine summons extended to the believer for salvation.’ 

Oh my people, today, let’s reinvest in ourselves nuh; let’s set our objective, that goal to know Christ as best we can, so that we can win first prize; the satisfaction, the divine commendation and reward as we heed the divine call to salvation. That’s the true purpose of the believer! And for those of us who have already set those goals and objectives, let’s go home now declaring (yeahhh!) our Wednesday Wail nuh, letting all and sundry know our serious, sincere and joyful 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. NO! 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!’  

And there’s no need to remind us, but I will anyhow, (smile) that if we endure steadfastly to the end, that the future will be indeed more glorious than we can ever ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…in these troubled times…let’s all be prisoners of hope nuh…so that our faith can grow…and be spread abroad to the glory of Jesus…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 October 2020 Psalm 146:5.

Psalm 146:5.     ​Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

‘Come Monday, everything will be all right. Come Monday, I’ll be holding you tight.’ Ah friends, just hoping that this Monday morning in this crazy year of 2020, we’ll be holding on tightly to Jesus and nobody else, because, as we can see from the confusion that’s currently reigning, there’s no one else that we can trust to tell us the truth in these troubled times. 

That’s why the psalmist wisely warned us so long ago. ‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man (a human being), in whom there is no help (salvation). His breath goeth forth (his spirit departs, he dies), he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.’ (Ps. 146:3-4) Yeh friends, once the prince, or the human being dies, all his thoughts perish with him, and he is no longer of any real use to you, can’t offer any advice or do anything for you. 

As Isiah concurs with the palmist. ‘Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of?’ (Is. 2:22) Good question my brethren. And Jeremiah puts it this way: ‘Thus saith the Lord; cursed be the man that trusteth in man (man’s strength), and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath (a shrub) in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.’ (Jer. 17:5-6) 

Yuh see what trusting mankind brings? And I think that should be enough scripture for now to show us that trusting in mankind is definitely not wisdom. However, listen as the psalmist continues: ‘Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:’ (Ps. 146:5) 

Brother, oh brother! What wisdom! And Jeremiah corroborates it when he proclaims the blessedness of trusting the Lord. ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see (fear) when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful (anxious) in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.’ (Jer. 17:7-8) 

Ah mih people, who else can make those kinds of true and faithful promises eh? Nobody but the Lord God Jehovah; He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! That’s why He’s the ONLY person we should put our total trust in, because He’s the ONLY One with the power, might and whatever else it takes to bring us successfully through the valley of the shadow of death and the storms of life that constantly buffet and harry us! 

And that’s the gospel truth, for hear what Jeremiah says about the human condition. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (incurably sick): who can know it?’ (Jer. 17:9) Only God alone! For He says: ‘I the Lord search the heart, I try (test) the reins (mind, the most secret parts), even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (his deeds).’ (Jer. 17:10) 

Yes my brethren, I hope those scriptures were sufficient to have us thinking in a wise and godly manner, re putting too much trust in mankind. But just in case it wasn’t, here is some lagniappe from Cousin Sol. (smile) ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct (guide) thy paths. 

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel (body), and marrow (strength) to thy bones. Honour the Lord with thy substance (possessions), and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses (vats) shall burst out with new wine.’ (Prov. 3:5-10) 

I rest my case friends. We’ll let the Holy Spirit work those scriptures into your spirit now. I’ve done all I can. Oh sorry, there’s one more thing I can do, (smile) that’s lead us in prayer, our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, taking all our problems to God in prayer, as He desires us to do. So altogether now in strong voice, in humble confidence: 

‘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 standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

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 to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, 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!’ 

And please remember the Lord is searching our hearts to see if we’re since about that repentance, and it’s not just talk. So we have to make good our vows. Much LOVE!

…trust can only be earned through faithfulness…and in this fallen world…ONLY the Lord God Jehovah is truly faithful… 

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… 

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