Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 July 2021 John 15:5b.

John 15:5b.        …for without me ye can do nothing.

Don’t look now friends, but it’s that big day, Monday, the first day of the new work week! (smile) And since some of those pandemic restrictions have been lifted, I guess more of us will be going back out to work today – some joyfully, others sadly, as their extended holiday is over. But let’s remember that whatever the circumstances, we can handle them successfully if we have the Holy Spirt of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ dwelling within us. That’s one of the many differences and improvements between believers and the infidel; with Jesus, we can do any and everything, through Him who strengthens us. Give Him thanks and praise my people! 

And how do we get and stay strong in Christ? Listen to His immortal words on the subject, to the disciples. ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’ (John 15:4) How sweet is that eh mih bredrin! That’s how we get and stay strong in Christ. And if you didn’t get it the first time, He goes on to further explain. ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) 

Wow! How direct and to the point is Jesus eh! Unless we stick with Him, we cannot do anything! And that’s the gospel truth my people! It’s only with Christ as the catalyst and moving agent in our life that we are able to do anything truly worthwhile down here on planet earth. 

And the scholars give us some useful info on that verse, re the Union with Christ.‘15:5. The uniqueness of the Christian experience results from the union of Christ and the believer. This is expressed in Scripture as Christ being in the believer and the believer in Christ. Ten times Paul uses the Greek preposition sun (“together”) to describe this relationship. Believers were crucified (Gal. 2:20), dead (Col. 2:20), buried (Rom. 6:4), quickened or made alive (Eph. 2:1-5; Col. 2:13), raised (Col. 3:1; Eph. 2:6), seated (Eph. 2:6), and glorified (Rom. 8:17) together with Christ. 

Illustration: Jesus used the image of the vine and its branches to describe His union with the believer. Application: On the basis of this union, the apostle Paul showed how the successful Christian life can be opened with four key words in Romans 6: know (vs. 6), reckon (vs. 11), yield (vs. 13), and obey (vs. 17). The Christian can conquer sin because Christ lives in him (Gal. 2:20). (First Ref. John 7:37-38; Primary Ref. John 15:1-5; cf. 1 John 5:13).’ 

Well, there you have it friends, our Bible Study for today! (smile) Lots of Scriptures for us to look up. And please do look them up, for it will be to our benefit, as they will only enhance our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. It’s all about inner growth or spiritual maturity my people. And that takes us to Bruh Paul’s prayer for just that in his missive to the church at Ephesus. 

‘That He (Christ) would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye , being rooted and grounded in LOVE, May be able to comprehend (understand) with all saints what is the breadth (width), and length, and depth and height; And to know the LOVE of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.’ (Eph. 3:16-19) 

Oh Mama, Mama! What a powerful prayer! And the scholars explain it all thus: ‘3:16-19. In these verses Paul makes three prayer requests for the addressees: (1) That they would be strengthened with might by His Spirit (vs. 16), that is, that they be divinely enabled to successfully live the Christian life. (2) That the readers be able to comprehend…the LOVE of Christ, that is to better understand the enormous LOVE Christ has for them. And (3) that they might be filled with all the fullness of God, that is, that the life, character, and virtues of God Himself may be fully developed in them.’ 

Now that does sound like a big programme for believers to undertake, but Bruh Paul knew what he was doing. Listen to how he ends that passage nuh. ‘Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.’ (Eph. 3:20-21) Yes friends, Bruh Paul was not making those prayer requests for too much, because he was asking the One who could do ever so much more than we can ask or think; that’s Almighty God. 

So please don’t think that you can’t do anything because it’s too big for you. It might seem so, but it is definitely not too big for our God; the One who created us and still LOVES us dearly, despite all our faults and failures. That means we can go to Him right now with our problems and ask for His awesome help. So as one strong, confident, but humble voice, let’s offer up our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has 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 wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems. 

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. 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!’ 

But let me warn us, that we won’t get our desires unless we sincerely turn away from our evil ways and seek God with right motives in our hearts! Much LOVE!

…we can never sell God short…for He is bigger than anything we can ask or imagine…                                                                                          

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 July 2020 Psalm 27:14.

Psalm 27:14.     Wait (in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait (in faith), I say, on the Lord.
 

Oh my people, please sing this soulful ditty with me: ‘One Monday morning, I won’t be around to answer the call. Ohhh…One Monday morning, I won’t be here, to answer the tolling bells of work. (Repeat) But while I’m here…while God’s awesome breath of life, still surges through my body and soul, I’ll do my best, to answer the call, of those tolling work bells, on as many Monday mornings as I can.’ 

Yes my brethren, as true believers in Christ Jesus that should be our heart’s desire. (smile) Not the opposite reaction, hardening our hearts to the tolling work bells, as so many of us practice in these crazy times. As the ole people would say, ‘work never kill anybody yet nuh…. But plenty people die from starvation when they don’t work!’ 

But be that as it may, in these unprecedented times, when many of us are mired in anxiety and want because of all the stuff that’s happening, and some can’t work even though they want to, we have to look at the situation in an entirely different light. Nothing that’s happened before has prepared us for the complexities involved, so we have to come up with entirely new ways of handling it. And we know that this too shall eventually pass, the problem though is how and when is it going to pass, and what will be the resultant situation when it does? 

Unfortunately, there’s only one Being right now who knows the answers to those questions, our omnipotent God, but in His infinite wisdom, He’s not telling. So our best shot is to bow down, surrender our hearts and lives to the Creator and Controller of our great universe; the Supreme Being who created us from the dust of the earth, then breathed His Spirit of life into us, and earnestly pray that He will extend a helping hand to our troubled world. He has said that when problems overwhelm our finite minds, we should turn to Him to get His supreme wisdom and guidance. 

So as one strong voice, with sincere hearts, let’s invoke our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, asking for His mercy, grace and divine guidance in the worldwide problems that we’re now facing. ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. And our anxieties have been recently deepened because some restrictions have been lifted in the lockdown, so more of us are going out to work now without any guarantees of safety. 

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

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle these scourges that are currently plaguing Your beautiful earth. Please help our leaders to wisely quell the strife and protests, thus bringing unity, peaceful consensus and real improvement in the areas that are now sadly lacking. Please help the scientists to also find a positive solution, a sure antidote to the virus as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, or been injured in the strife, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. 

Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Yes friends, we’ve done the first part of our task; pray. The next part is to do whatever is in our power to help the situation, with faith and earnest expectation that our prayer will be positively answered in the near future. That brings to mind Bruh David’s prayer from Psalm 27 – The Lord is my light and my salvation. 

‘Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put (turn) not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up (take care of me). 

Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain (smooth) path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty (violence). I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait (in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait (in faith), I say, on the Lord.’ (Ps. 27:7-14) 

Unfortunately, I can’t give any better advice than Bruh David’s my fellow saints in Christ. And it certainly worked for him, so I don’t see why it won’t work for us too. Much LOVE!

…in troubled times…God must be our FIRST refuge…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 June 2020 Psalm 9:10.

Psalm 9:10.     ​And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
 

Oh my people, I’m sorry, but I must let you know that today is Monday! Yes, unfortunately that much disliked day has come around again, as it does every seven days. (smile) And we know what that means for many of us, getting up from our warm and comfortable beds and going out to labour, so we can make a penny to keep a roof over our heads and food on our tables.  For remember what Bruh Paul said to the Thessalonians; he who doesn’t work shouldn’t eat.  ( 2 Thess. 3:10) And since we all like to eat, I think we should get a move on so we can further the process. (smile)  

Sadly though, not much has changed for the better over the weekend. The pandemic is getting worse in several places. Some of them were never locked down, or did so, but opened too soon without enough safety precautions. And much to our chagrin, we still can’t agree on how best to handle it. Ah Lord eh! And who says mankind is the smartest animal on the planet eh? I beg to differ. 

As for the racial protests, that’s still going strong, though some people are ignoring it and still doing their racially provoked thing. That’s something else that boggles the imagination. Yuh see certain actions stirring up the populace, and not only one set, but everybody, and yuh still going to do the same nonsense that stirred it up in the first place? Steups! Is either you don’t care, or you believe the racially biased system will take care of you. But either belief is foolish in these troubled times where accountability is uppermost in many minds. 

And having said that, I guess you all are asking what’s next eh? Well my only suggestion, my best advice is for us to turn to the Creator and Controller of our great universe; the Supreme Being who created us from the dust of the earth, then breathed His Spirit of life into us. He has said that when problems overwhelm our finite minds, we should turn to Him to get His supreme wisdom and guidance. So let’s do that nuh; as one strong voice, with sincere hearts, let’s call out to Him right now, invoking our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, asking for His mercy, grace and divine guidance in the worldwide problems that we’re now facing. 

‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. And our anxieties have been recently deepened because some restrictions have been lifted in the lockdown, so more of us are going out to work now without any guarantees of safety. Then to complicate matters Father, suddenly, and unexpectedly, just like the virus, worldwide strife and protests have also struck us in this sad time of pandemic, and we don’t have a clue how to handle either situation properly. 

Mass confusion is currently prevailing in our world, and we desperately need your help to solve both problems, as You are the ONLY One with the power and insight to successfully handle them. Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. 

That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. Please show us how to successfully handle these scourges that are currently plaguing Your beautiful earth. Please help our leaders to wisely quell the strife and protests, thus bringing unity and peaceful consensus, and the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to the virus as quickly as possible. 

And for those who have already contracted the virus, or been injured in the strife, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Ah friends, we’ve prayed a humble but confident prayer, now we have to wait for the Lord’s answer. That includes releasing our faith, truly surrendering our lives to Him, and sincerely trusting in His goodness. Yes we know that all the current happenings don’t seem to make sense and are causing untold anxiety, but it’s in those uncertain and perilous times that we really need to buckle down and believe, and say ‘Your will be done Lord, not mine.’ Whatever the circumstances, we are called to trust in God’s LOVING-kindness! Remember, He who promised is faithful! (Heb. 10:23) 

That brings us to these awesome words of Bruh David – In Praise of God’s Justice. ‘O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end (finished forever): and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them. But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgement. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgement to the people in uprightness. The Lord will also be a refuge (stronghold) for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.’ (Ps. 9:6-10) 

Now that is the indisputable truth my brethren! The problem is for us to sincerely put our trust in the great God Jehovah! And if by chance, you didn’t believe Bruh David, then listen to his son, 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 (make smooth or straight) 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.’ (Prov. 3:5-8) 

Oh friends, if Cousin Sol had never written anything else, those verses would have been enough to set him up for posterity, because they are possibly the best verses in the Good Book, verses that lay bare the Christian principles, short and sweet! So let’s take them all to heart nuh, and do what we know we ought to do to glorify our heavenly Father. Much LOVE!

…trust and obey…for there’s no other way…to be happy in Jesus…than to trust and obey…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 May 2020 Genesis 2:17.

Genesis 2:17.    ​But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

‘Monday, Monday…Oh how I hate that day!…Come Monday morning, I’d wake up crying…Monday Monday!’ Ah friends, many of us older folks, please note I said older, not old folks, (smile) will remember those words, or some facsimile thereof (smile) from the hit song by the Mamas and Papas released in 1966, and which has become something of an institution over the years to denigrate Mondays. Thus to this day, some six decades later, Monday is looked upon as an outcast, as the poor relation, the devil day of the week, simply because it heralds the start of our work week, cuts into the good times we’ve been having over the weekend. 

But if we want to eat, some of us have to work. It’s as simple as that. And in these uncertain and turbulent times, when life is so fragile, we need a lot of help just to make it through each day. But the good news is that we have powerful help, reassuring help, our omnipotent God! So let’s communicate with Him nuh, through what we call our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, letting Him know that we desperately need His divine favour and succour. 

As one strong 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 hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. Our anxieties have even deepened in the last few days because some restrictions have been lifted, and more of us have to go to work now. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Now all of that sounds good and proper, but yuh know what friends, we are our own worst enemy. And why do I say that? Because of the gross irresponsibility a lot of us are showing in these dangerous and unpredictable times. Good example; yesterday, Sunday, with the recent lifting of some park restrictions, and with the wonderful weather and temperature conditions, the small Trinity Bellwoods Park in the south western part of the city of Toronto saw several thousands of people picnicking and partying there, with no regard whatsoever to the terrible backlash  their irresponsible behaviour could provoke, as we still don’t have a proper handle on the virus that’s holding us to ransom. 

The only way we can control it right now is by physical distancing, which obviously wasn’t being practiced in that park yesterday. And in the U.S. on their Memorial Day weekend, there have already been numerous incidents of crowds on beaches and in parties in parks and elsewhere causing controversies with the authorities. And no doubt there’ll be more on the holiday today. 

So what’s a body to say to that kind of irresponsible behaviour eh? Yes, it’s hard been locked down for a long while, but which do we prefer, to be safe and somewhat stir crazy, or free and easy and dead eh? And it’s not like people aren’t dying in large numbers from the Covid-19 disease. So why this crazy reaction? We really shouldn’t be surprised nuh, because flouting rules and regulations seems to be the natural nature of man. Look at how our forefather’s Adam and Eve screwed it up in the Garden of Eden when they had it so good. 

Yuh know is one, ONE simple rule the Lord gave them: ‘And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest eat freely: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ (Gen. 2:16-17) Oh friends, according to the scholars, ‘2:16. The Hebrew words expressly emphasize, ‘you may eat to your heart’s content, of every other tree but that one in the middle.’ 

But as they say further: ‘Note Satan’s subtle assertion in 3:1. As he focused on the “one” tree they could not eat from. In so doing, he excluded the abundance in this verse.’ Yuh see how the ole serpent smart; he teased them with the one thing they couldn’t have, ignoring the abundance of all the other things they could have. And that’s the exact way we are still behaving to this day. We ‘re never satisfied with what we do have, but are always in search of what we don’t have, but think we ought to. 

It’s simply a combination of greed and stupidity. But when we suffer the necessary consequences, then we hold our heads and bawl; ‘If I’d only known eh…’ But you did know because it was spelt out in spades, but you chose to disobey it. And with Adam and Eve, death was a sure thing if they disobeyed. But Satan again weaved his deceitful web around them by blatantly denying God’s promise and saying to Eve: ‘Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods (God), knowing good and evil.’ (Gen. 3:4-5) 

And yes technically speaking, their eyes were opened. ‘But the problem was that their eyes were opened to behold all things in the light of their own sinfulness. They would have a fixed moral nature like God; but it was fixed in sin, not righteousness. They knew good, but were unable to do it; and they knew evil, but were unable to resist it. There has always been the temptation to be like God. Here it suggests that God is holding something back from Adam and Eve.’ 

Yuh see how Satan could tie us up with unsaid suggestions or intimations. And today, unfortunately, we still falling for his deceitfulness, just like Adam and Eve. Nothing’s really changed nuh friends, we’re still disobedient to the rules and regulations of both our heavenly Father and our earthly leaders. And yuh know what? The same thing, certain death is forecasted for many of us if we insist on being disobedient! Much LOVE!

 …for dust thou art…and unto dust shalt thou return… (Gen. 3:19b)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 May 2020 Lamentations 3:22.

Lamentations 3:22.    ​ It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
 
As the tumbling tumbleweed tumbles; as the cycle of life cycles; so do we saints in Christ live in concert with our omnipotent Creator! Wow! What magnificent imagery! That’s why they say B.S. baffles brains! (smile) It’s Monday morning friends, and we’re alive and kicking, so regardless of what tragedies are happening in our world, let’s give much thanks and praise to the Almighty that we’re not too badly off, and most of us are fairly safe, have a roof over our heads, and are well-fed! 

Many others around our world are having it much rougher than us and they’re not complaining, so we shouldn’t either, although, unfortunately, that has recently become the prevalent nature of our privileged, entitled and irresponsible society. And the best way to live in concert with out Creator is by communing with Him through the medium of prayer. So let’s do that right now nuh, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, recently reworked for this pandemic time. As one, strong, humble, but confident voice, let’s come before His heavenly throne in sincere prayer. 

‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Yes, precious people, I’m sure the Lord heard our prayer because I know that our hearts were quite sincere, for we are awfully anxious and scared of the somewhat unrelenting stranglehold that the Coronavirus currently has on our world. But please, let’s remember what we said above in our prayer, about repentant hearts. We need to show that in our behaviour, keep our promise, if we expect the Lord to keep His and heal our world. Remember Cousin Sol told us yesterday not to make promises, especially to God, and not keep them. (Eccl. 5:4-5) So let’s work sincerely and diligently on that repentance nuh. 

And to help us do that, hear are some encouraging words from the prophet Jeremiah when he was lamenting the sins of his people Israel, who were then going through a rough time for their sinful disobedience. It seems like everything and everybody was against them. And at one stage Jeremiah declared (steups!): ‘I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into (made me walk in) darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day…’ (Lam. 3:1-3) Then he goes on to tell of the many things Israel had suffered at the Lord’s hands. (Lam. 3: 4 13) 

And furthermore: ‘I was a derision (laughingstock) to all my people; and their (taunting) song all the day. He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity (good). And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord: Remembering (remember) mine affliction and my misery; the wormwood and the gall (bitterness). My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled within me (is bowed down).’ (Lam. 3:14-19) 

Ah friends, Israel was in real bad shape, like we are today, and I know a lot of us are lamenting over our many problems, many of which have befallen us because of our sinful and disobedient attitude towards God. But if we continue listening to Jeremiah we’ll discover that things are not as bad as they seem or can get. 

‘This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.’ (Lam. 3:21-26) 

Oh my people, please, let’s do like Jeremiah and remember that our God is a great God nuh, compassionate and merciful as no one else. It is because of that compassion and mercy that we are not destroyed, as we deserve to be. And moreover, each new day, He brings new mercies and compassion to the table because of His overwhelming and unconditional LOVE for us. He is indeed a faithful God, and we need to be faithful too if we really want to see all the good things He has in store for us. 

And the scholars tell us that ‘real faith is more than inner belief, even more than whole-souled committal. It is a condition of the soul marked by such a stable character and attitude of total trust that the believer’s whole life is imbued with consistent, responsible service to God (cf. 1 Sam. 26:23; Ps. 37:3-6). From the biblical standpoint, true faith results in faithfulness in one’s life.’ 

Yes friends, faithfulness in this sinful word is not an easy row to hoe, but with the Lord’s help and our determination, we can certainly do much better than we’re currently doing. Much LOVE!

…blessed is the nation…whose God is the Lord… (Ps. 33:12)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this Monday morning the most stressful and discouraging thing on our minds is the Covid-19 disease, therefore let’s address that matter uppermost in our prayer, the one we call our Monday Morning Covid-19 Battle Hymn. Altogether now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

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

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

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