Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 March 2020 1 John 4:18.

1 John 4:18.    ​There is no fear in LOVE; but perfect LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath (involves) torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in LOVE.
 

Well a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We’ve now reached the middle of the Lenten Season. But unfortunately there’ll be no public celebrations in green this year as the lockdown of the world continues… with the panic moving right along with it! Ah Lord eh! Canada has now barred certain people from certain places from entering the country. You’ll have to check out the Canadian Government Website to find out exactly who or whom are no longer welcome.  And sadly, every day, it seems to be getting worse; more people contracting the virus, more people dying, more empty shelves in the groceries and supermarkets, more places closing, but absolutely no word of how and when this pandemic will end, and certainly no reassuring news of some antidote been found to contradict the virus. 

But friends, when the Lord made man, He instilled one truly admirable quality in him; that of hope which leads to faith; of being able to fight through extremely tough situations with His awesome help. And in these turbulent and tremulous times, with no positive end in sight and no medical solution on the near horizon, it’s our faith and trust and surrender to Almighty God that is going to get us through. And to bolster our faith and courage and lessen our fear, here’s ‘A Great Message for the moment.’ A beautifully written piece by one Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM. I received it from a friend yesterday, and thought I just had to share it because it was so true and beautiful and uplifting. Please read carefully, inwardly digest and take the necessary outward actions. It’s titled “Lockdown!” 

‘Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is buying panic. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. 

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today, a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighborhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary. All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting. All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way. 

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality. To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To LOVE. So we pray and remember that, Yes, there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes, there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is buying panic. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes, there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul. Yes, there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of LOVE. 

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe, listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again. The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by LOVE. Open the windows of your soul. And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, SING!’ 

Oh friends, isn’t that touching! I certainly hope that it resounds powerfully within each and everyone of us. And if you will, please share it, because it’s the first positive reaction I’ve seen throughout these crazy and panic-filled times. And strangely enough, earlier on this morning, when I got up and went to the bathroom, I heard birds singing outside for the first time this year, and smiled to myself, thinking, spring is near! Glory be! (smile) 

And the psalmist said it in spades, so long ago: ‘Make a joyful noise (shout joyfully) unto the Lord, all ye lands (all the earth). Serve the Lord with gladness, come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord, he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.’ (Ps.100:1-5) 

Precious people, just in those five verses the psalmist has spelled it all out for us; the Lord God is good and mighty, and we need to bow before Him with singing and praise and thanksgiving! And singing has always been a way to ease the pressures of life. As another psalmist says: ‘I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.’ (Ps.104:33-34) And as Bruh Paul told the Ephesians on how to be Spirit-filled: ‘Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ (Eph. 5:19-21) 

Ah my people, that is the first move we ought to make in this crisis; seek God! And I do hope that we see His hand at work in this fear-filled time, because it is present. It’s His way of reining us in, of bringing us back to our senses, and as the author says above, of showing us how small we really are and how little control we do have over our lives and situations. It’s His way of bringing us back to him, killing our false and foolish pride, of showing that the most important thing is not worldly wealth and power, but His righteousness. That’s why His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ said so emphatically during His earthly sojourn: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) 

But no, we in our false pride and bravado, with the li’l intelligence we’ve gleaned over the years, have now gotten so big for our britches, that we now desire to, and foolishly believe we can remove our Creator from our society. Hn! What a nonsensical desire and belief! And I have to sadly chuckle when I think about the small virus that the Lord has used to bring us to our knees. Think about it nuh people. Some small, simple, unknown infection is driving the mighty mankind crazy! Can you believe it? 

But yet in all the confusion, many of us are finding, new hope, stronger faith, trust and LOVE! And why is that? Because as John says: ‘There is no fear in LOVE; but perfect LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath (involves) torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in LOVE.’ And having said all of that, my faithful followers of Christ, let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are! 

In strong voice with sincere hearts in these trying times, let’s be strong in our Triune Godhead. ‘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 in our current situation, we do need to share the warm, reassuring LOVE of Christ and His amazing friendship with each other more than ever. Much LOVE!

…when you’re sad…sing songs of praise…and you’ll reclaim your joy…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 March 2020 Hebrews 11:1.

Hebrews 11:1.    ​FAITH: the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.
 
Now it’s Tuesday, a wet, dark day in my area. Hn! What a sudden change from the nice sunny, bright and warmish weather of the weekend! And by the way, I do hope that most of us have gotten over whatever negative effect(s) the change back from Standard to Daylight Saving Time caused on the weekend. Steups! I still don’t understand or see the reason for these time changes nuh. And besides, almost all the population are against it, for it does cause sleep and other related problems. Furthermore, a whole lot of places have either cut it out, or are now making preparations to do so. However, in our Province of Ontario there doesn’t seem to be any serious move to get rid of it, although many people complain about it. 

Personally, I don’t know if it causes me any backlash nuh, because sleep and I don’t seem to be on the same wavelength anyway. (smile) A good example of that is last evening, after having an after dinner nap, I didn’t go back to bed until three something, but by four fifteen my eyes were wide open. I got up and went to the bathroom, then by six something my eyes were wide open again, and try as I wanted, I couldn’t get back to sleep again, partly due to the aches and pains and not being able to find a comfortable contortion for my ole bod.

 Hn! Yuh think it easy? Getting on in age brings a whole lotta problems we not prepared for. (smile) Granted, some of my problems might be attributable to my hating to take  the pain pills…Steups! I’m already taking so many blooming pills for my other problems! Don’t want to turn into a pill popper anymore than I already am. (smile) So I only take the pain stuff when things get real uncomfortable. But yuh know what? With the awesome help of our magnificent and magnanimous God, we can handle anything that comes against us, for as the Good Book faithfully proclaims: ‘We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Phil. 4:13) 

And again: ‘Our God shall supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) And if neither of those scriptures lifted your spirits, then try this one: ‘And Jesus, looking upon them saith, with men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.’ (Mark 10:27) Yes my fellow believers, that is the gospel truth in capital spades! And if you don’t believe that, then you’re wasting your time calling yourself a true believer because you are sadly lacking in faith. 

And remember what the Good Book firmly stipulates: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is (He truly exists), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ (Heb.11:6) Now that is what God is all about: ‘FAITH: the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ Yes my people, sincerely coming to God is all a matter of trust and surrender and large hope, that resounds as faith. You can’t see it, but you can surely feel it. 

And Bruh Paul puts it plainly and clearly to the church at Rome, when he wrote: ‘ For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for it? But if we hope for what we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) (eagerly) wait for it.’ (Rom. 8:24-25) Ah friends, what magnificent and reassuring scriptures! That’s what our faith is built on; hope that leads to perseverance and eager expectancy! But we must first believe, before we see it. That’s how it operates in God’s economy. We don’t adhere to the seeing is believing motto that the world holds on to so tightly and foolishly. 

And it’s not like we don’t have a whole host of examples of strong faith: The Good Book tells us about Noah, who was warned by God of the things to come, and having not seen any evidence of it, still believed, ‘moved with fear (reverence), prepared and ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.’ (Hebr.11:7) And yuh see what happened? Noah’s family was the only one saved when the Lord destroyed the sinful world by flood. 

Likewise Abraham, the father of our modern faith. The Lord called Him to leave his family when he was some seventy years old and go out to a land that he knew nothing about. But the Lord promised Him lots of good stuff and Abraham believed God, trusted Him impeccably, and went out, not knowing whither he went. And look at how the Lord prospered Abraham for his faith nuh. Look at Sarah his wife, who laughed when the Lord promised them a child from their own loins. Yes, it did take twenty five years, but it happened, and note when, when Abraham was a hundred and Sarah was ninety. 

Do you still think that ALL things are NOT possible with God? Look at Moses, look at Jacob, at Bruh Joseph – yes we do have a third Bruh, although we don’t talk about him as much as the other two, David and Paul. (smile) And that ofttimes hurts me, because his story is such a fascinating one, one of awesome faith and perseverance, where despite the wonderful dream promised him, time and time again, he is innocently thrown into serious adversity. But he always keeps his cool under pressure. And you’d note that wherever he went, he always found favour with his bosses, until the Lord was ready to lift him up to the second highest post in the then known world; second only to the great Pharaoh himself! 

No, it’s not easy having true faith, but as we said earlier on, through Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Father; our triune Godhead, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! But we do need to believe it first, and then live by it. And I’m chuckling here, because this wasn’t the sermon I intended to preach this morning…in fact I didn’t have any sermon in mind, (smile) but this is where I was led, and I do hope that it makes some impact on us all today, since our faith needs serious bolstering if we are to make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s camp. 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

Mama Mia! What a wonderful Lord and Saviour we serve! Let’s go out now and share that LOVE and friendship we have with Him, so that others can come to know Him too! Much LOVE!

…and now abideth…faith, hope and LOVE…but the greatest of these is…LOVE… (1 Cor.13:13)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 March 2020 Matthew 28:18.

Matthew 28:18.    And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
 

It was a very good day, but an extremely rough night! Chuh! We accompanied the newly wedded couple into the country yesterday afternoon, the backwoods of Hanover Parish, up in the mountains…and we talking real mountain here. Hn! After driving up the rough, hill incline for a couple miles, we finally had to park and walk almost a quarter mile further up the hill to get to our cousins’ property right at the top. 

And it was only a rough, uneven, stony path, always climbing upward. When you got to a bend, you’d think ‘Well this is it.’ But there was always another stretch around that bend. But the duchess/first lady and the ole fella handled it quite nicely. Just took our time and did our thing. Along the way there were all sorts of flora on either side with some big palms trees gracing the hillside, as well as a few houses. 

At one time I told them that I was smelling mannish-water, the Jamaican soup made from goat entrails. What I was smelling though was what they used to make the mannish water; a live ram goat close by in the bushes. I had to laugh because it smelled so authentic. And when we were coming back down I also smelled it. (smile) 

And was the sight at the top ever so lovely; mountains and sea all around, as well as all kinds of fruit trees on the property itself; mango, soursop, sugar apple, caimete, cocoa, pimento, gungo peas etc. Yes, I know that technically speaking those last three aren’t fruits, but the name suits our purposes here. (smile) 

The amusing part is that while going up the rain kept drizzling, and when we got to the top a decent shower came down and we had to shelter in a li’l lean to, as the house on the property had been burned down some years ago. Coming back down was harder than going up, because of the slant of the hill and the uneven, stony ground, but we made it…Praise the Lord! 

And on the way back to Mo Bay, we stopped at the restaurant along the seacoast, Paiche’s, that we’d stopped at last week. And while they had their fish stuff, I had some curry shrimps with fry plantain, fry breadfruit and festival. All in all it was a very interesting day, didn’t get back home until around nine p.m. 

But brother…the night was a different story! Went to be around eleven, got up around two to go to the bathroom, and thereafter it was just horrors! My right hip just kept aching, couldn’t find a comfortable position no which way I tried, but I refused to get up out of the bed. Like a petulant child I just lay there and turned and tossed from side to side. I must have dozed off sometime, because I remember having at least one dream. (smile) 

Oh, somewhere in there I got up and took some Tylenol, but that did not help matters any. And around six thirty, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and finally got up. Steups! I guess though, as Job said, we have to take the bad with the good, that earthly life won’t be a heavenly trip, though I don’t see why not, since we’d all like it to be. (smile) 

And though the Boss has a different take on the proceedings, He does encourage us with His awesome words and promises. ‘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) Wow! What reassuring words my brethren! 

That means that though my hip is lending me beans, I can keep my peace through my faith in Him, since I know that He has already overcome hell, death and the grave and has all authority on earth and in heaven, meaning NOTHING can keep me from my destiny with Him! 

Please note Jesus words when He appeared to His people and gave them the Great Commission: ‘All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ (Matt.28:18-19) You can’t make such a monumental statement without sure authority and power! 

And I like how the scholars put it: ‘The triumphant, living Lord sends forth His ambassadors to proclaim His gospel throughout all the world. The Great Commission is not just an order but a pronouncement of victory (mundus regium Christi) by the risen Saviour through His disciples. All power or authority (Gr. exousia) is now in the hands of Christ, in heaven and on the earth. On the basis of that authority and power the Christian disciple is to carry out the Great Commission of the church.’ 

Yes friends, we have been commanded to go and teach, and also given the power to do so! So what are waiting for eh? And just to show that the Good Book is not just a wishy-washy, hurriedly put together manuscript, but a purposeful and well thought out tome, listen to this foretelling of Jesus’ power and authority way back in Daniel, as he recounts his vision of the four beasts. 

‘I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people (peoples), nations and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.’ (Dan.7:13-14) 

Yuh see friends, the Lord had a plan from long ago, which He implemented when the time was right, and there’s still more to be implemented. Listen as the scholars explain those verses. ‘7:13. The Son of man who came to the Ancient of days is the Son of God approaching God the Father. Evidently Jesus took the title ‘Son of Man,’ which was His favourite way of referring to Himself in the Gospels from this passage.’ 

‘7:14. The commencement of Christ’s everlasting dominion will take place at His second coming (cf. Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Rev. 11:15).’ So it’s all set in place my fellow believers! Our wise and wonderful God didn’t leave anything to chance, so there’s no need for us to fear. So with all of that in mind, let’s go home declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know who and whose we are. 

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

Mama Mia! What a wonderful Saviour we have my people! Let’s go out and tell the world about Him nuh! Let’s not be selfish and keep Him all to ourselves! Much LOVE!

…are you using Jesus’ power to do His work…or just aimlessly wasting it…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 February 2020 Proverbs 27:1.

Proverbs 27:1.    ​Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring.

 

And yuh see how life could turn back and bite yuh! Yes, for all of you in the G.T.A, who were crowing yesterday morning because you didn’t have to go to work, yuh see the dangerous and messy conditions you have to go out in today…the white enemy all over, after a heavy snowfall last night! Serve yuh right for lording it over those who had to go and labour yesterday! (smile) 

Ah friends, it’s just another winter’s day in the northern climes, and as you valiantly forge through it, you must have a good attitude, laugh and chuckle, hope for and think of the sunshine and good weather that soon come, otherwise it’s just going to drive you crazy, as you slip and slide through it. You might not like the snow, but the wise thing to do is to mentally embrace it, with Jesus’ help of course, so you’re not always flustered and bothered when you encounter it. 

Yes, that can be easier said than done, but like everything else in this world, we have been endowed with the parts to live a pleasant and abundant life, we just have to put our best foot forward in Jesus’ name. And all of that brings us to this ever so important principle of scripture and life in general. Hear these immortal, truthful and wise words of Cousin Sol. ‘Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring.’ 

And Jesus described it ever so well in the parable of the rich fool, who had so much wealth and not enough space to store it, that he decided to tear down all and build bigger and better… ‘and there will I bestow (store) all my fruits (crops) and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.’ (Luke 12:18-19) Yes my brethren, that’s how too many of us behave, believers included. We live too much for the world’s wealth and pretty but worthless possessions. 

And Jesus continued His parable with these words of everlasting wisdom. ‘But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’ Yeh friends, for the lawyers and other professionals involved in the tremendous and foolish litigation that will follow his death! We see that played out everyday in the lives of the rich and famous: somebody is never satisfied with their portion of the estate, or unhappy that they didn’t get any. 

And the warning is also in the Old Testament. In 1 Kings 20, when Ben-hadad, king of Syria, threatened Ahab, king of Israel to destroy Samaria unless he gave up his wealth and power voluntarily, Ahab answered: ‘Tell him, let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.’ (1 Kin. 20:11) Yes my people, we never know what’s going to happen in between time. And Ben-hadad in his righteous anger was defeated by Israel, obviously with God’s help, when he finally came against them. 

But getting back to Jesus’ parable of the rich fool. Here is how He ended it. ‘So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’ (Luke 12:21) And the scholars explain: ‘12:21. Here Jesus brings out the meaning of verses 16-20. Notice that what Jesus calls for follows quite logically out of His own example (2 Cor.8:9), as well as out of God’s graciousness toward all who seek Him (Rom.10:12). Jesus is thus not speaking of a pay-as-you-go faith, but of participation in a relationship in which God already provides what He wishes His people to give back to Him.’ 

Oh my people, remember all that we have belongs to God, and we’re just stewards of His belongings, so it’s rather boldfaced of us to think that we’re giving Him our things. (smile) Anyway, we have space to highlight those two scriptures the scholars quote above. ‘For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.’ (2 Cor. 8:9) Yes, when coming to sacrificial LOVE, Jesus is the poster child for that, the mightiest example to be ever found! 

And the next verse declares (yeah!): ‘For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.’ (Rom.10:11-12) I put in verse 11 so that the context could be better understood, that our God is rich in mercy, grace, forgiveness, what ever have you, towards all and any that call on Him, in sincerity of heart, be they Jew or Gentile! So it doesn’t make sense for us to become so attached to the things of the world, as so many of us are. 

Now hear James theorize on the subject: ‘Go to (come) now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain (make a profit): Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that. But now ye rejoice (boast) in your boastings (arrogance): all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.’ (James 4:13-17) 

And the scholars offer a couple of explanations. ‘4:15. This, or that: This verse teaches that God does have something for Christians to do and that they should plan accordingly. James condemns only elaborate planning that omits God (cf. Prov. 16:9).’ ‘4:17. To do good here requires including God in one’s plans. Omitting God is not merely bad planning; it is sin.’ Now if all of that doesn’t grab our attention and teach us not leave God out of any of our business, then I don’t know what will. (smile) 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are! In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

And the end goal is to now go out and share that wonderful friendship and amazing LOVE with those who don’t know Him! Much LOVE!

…a man’s heart deviseth (plans) his way…but the Lord directeth his steps… (Prov.16:9)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 February 2020 Micah 6:8.

Micah 6:8.    ​He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to LOVE mercy (LOVING-kindness), and to walk humbly with thy God?
 

Well, well, well, we’ve gotten rid of Monday; overcome its fear and dread, and sent it to the dustbin of history, to cavort uselessly in the detritus of time! (smile) Now it’s time for us to eagerly embrace Tuesday’s purpose, which by the way, was, and is the same as Monday – to do God’s work in a diligent and excellent manner! Yes friends, the days, the months, the years might change, but our job, our earthly function is always to do the will of God, to do His bidding in a joyful, faithful and compassionate manner! 

And all God’s people declared a loud and thankful shout of: ‘Praise the Lord! Bless His holy name, fear and reverence Him forever, for He is indeed worthy to be praised and exalted! Amen!’ 

And my fellow believers (yeah!) you ask, what is the will of God? Well hear it is, in God’s own words. Moses said it on His behalf, like this: ‘And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to LOVE him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes which I command thee this day for thy good (benefit, welfare).’ (Deut.10:12-13) 

And yes it is important to keep the commandments of God and all those other things, but possibly the most important part of Moses speech is the last part – ‘for thy good.’ Yes friends, all we’re asked to do is not because the Lord needs it, but because WE need it! It’s all for OUR benefit, OUR welfare. So if we’re too foolish, or not wise enough to appreciate that fact, then crapaud smoke we pipe! That’s the mistake so many humans have made, and are still making; thinking that we’re doing the Lord a favour when we do His bidding or keep His commandments. 

Steups! Look friends…Let’s wake up and smell the coffee yes! God doesn’t really need anything from us, cause He’s sitting quite comfortably in high heaven on His glorious throne running things, but we need EVERYTHING from Him, starting with His breath of life, His daily provision, compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, LOVE…etc. etc…! Without any of those things, we’re all goners! 

Unfortunately though, we are behaving just like the Israelites did when the Lord admonished them through the prophet Hosea. ‘For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men (like Adam) have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.’ (Hos. 6:6-7) 

And believe me friends, when you transgress the Lord’s covenant, you WILL pay the price eventually. He might forgive us and all that, but please remember that sin and disobedience ALWAYS bear a hefty price tag! Just look at Israel’s first King, Saul. The Lord commanded him to destroy the Amalekites completely. ‘Now go and smite (attack) Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.’ (1 Sam.15:3) 

That means they were to be totally annihilated! But what did Saul do? He saved the king Agag, and the best of the Amalekites animals and worldly possessions. And when Samuel asked why he hadn’t followed the Lord’s instructions to the letter, Saul made excuses, as we always do, blaming the people for taking the plunder to sacrifice to the Lord. Thus Samuel admonished him with words that we all know, but still refuse to follow: 

‘Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken (listen) than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (divination), and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.’ (1 Sam.15:22-23) Yuh see friends, Saul lost his crown because he did not completely obey the Lord. And like Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) likes to say, partial obedience is still rebellion against God. (smile) 

And the scholars tell us: ‘15:22-23. These verses reinforce the Old testament viewpoint that religious ritual devoid of spiritual reality and of a life of total allegiance to a sovereign Lord is worthless (cf. Ps. 40:6-8; Is. 1:10-20; Mic. 6:8).’ What more can I say eh? Except to quote the age old passage from Micah, which is also our Bit for today. ‘He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to LOVE mercy (LOVING-kindness), and to walk humbly with thy God?’ 

Oh my people, those are the basic requirements of our great and awesome, but EVER-LOVING God! Even Jesus referred to the words of Samuel, Hosea and Micah, twice to boot! The first is when the Pharisees complained about Him eating with publicans (tax-collectors) and sinners. ‘But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole (are well) need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ (Matt. 9:12-13) 

And again, when the disciples plucked some corn from the field to eat on the Sabbath and the Pharisees complained that that was not lawful, Jesus, after telling them how Bruh David and his men, when they were terribly hungry, ate bread which was supposed to be for priests only, and how the law shows that on the sabbath the priests in the temple profaned (made common) the sabbath, and yet are blameless. (Matt.12:1-5) 

‘But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have (desire) mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.’ (Matt.12:6-8) Yeh friends, ours is not to just condemn, but rather to show justice and mercy! 

So let’s go home now having writ all of that indelibly in our hearts minds, bodies and souls, declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are. As one, 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!’ 

Mama Mia! What blessed people we are! Now let’s go out and share that wonderful friendship and amazing LOVE of Jesus with the less fortunate nuh, for it’s His heartfelt desire! Much LOVE!

…to be obedient to the Lord…is the believer’s unending pledge…and bounden duty…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 February 2020 Isaiah 40:11.

Isaiah 40:11.    ​He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
 

Come Tuesday…I’m glad to be alive! Come Tuesday…my soul’s soaring to high heaven, because the Lord has kept His promise to get me through Monday all in one piece! Wow friends! I hope we’re all in the same boat…the one with Jesus being the guide, captain and pilot! For it’s only that boat, the one with that commander, that will get us safely through the storms of this earthly life to the other side, where there is no more pain and suffering, no darkness, just joy and everlasting peace in the light of Jesus! 

And in keeping with that theme of trust and surrender to Jesus, here is this simple but most appropriate prayer from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. It’s titled ‘Heartstrings.’ Please pray with me: ‘Lord, with no sense of direction I’m forever losing my way. Please tie a string From Your heart to mine So that even in the darkness I’ll feel the tug of Your heart And find my way home.’ Oh my people, that’s so simple, but ever so touching in its directness and simplicity. 

What better way to stay attached to our Maker than with the awesome connection of a heart string. That way, we can never lose our focus, it will be ever stayed on Him, as it ought to. And that’s exactly what’s promised in Isaiah: comfort, through trust in the Lord. Listen to these most comforting words. ‘Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand (in strength), and his arm shall rule for him: behold his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is.40:10-11) 

How can you ever beat such a promise eh precious people of God? You simply can’t! And our Bit is the Bible Promise for our poem today; the awesome promise of Almighty God to feed and gently care for all those who wisely come to Him for help, who desire to be in His fold and allow Him to lead and guide them like a kind and caring shepherd does his sheep. And there are so many references to God being our shepherd in the Good Book that we can’t  cover them all, so we’ll just highlight a few; the first from the prophet Ezekiel. 

‘Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle (sheep) and cattle (sheep). And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.’ (Ezek. 34:22-24). What a mighty promise friends! And according to the scholars the reference to Bruh David there is in regards to his role during the Millennium reign of Christ. He will be appointed a shepherd of Christ’s flock. 

Now we’ll turn to the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, awesome words that we all claim to know, but as always, don’t fully put into practice, otherwise our lives wouldn’t be in such an ungodly mess. (smile) Hear the Master: ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:10-11) And isn’t that exactly what He did on the cross at Calvary…give His sinless life so selflessly for us, the hoped-for sheep of His pasture? 

That’s the amazing positivity and optimism of Christ; that before He was even sure of a flock, He died to preserve them! Wow! No one else would ever dream of doing that…except our Saviour! And as He continues later on: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ (John 10:14-16) 

Oh friends, the other flock Jesus was referring to there was us, the non-Jews, the Gentiles, whom He greatly desired to also include in His one worldwide flock at a slightly later date, through Bruh Paul. So this morning, whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves, let’s make sure that we know, and are hearing the voice of our Good Shepherd nuh, as He walks and talks and guides us safely and LOVINGLY through our day. 

As Bruh David so famously described it: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me…’  (Ps. 23:1-4) Yes friends, those are gospel truths, if we believe in Jesus Christ! 

So for those of us who sincerely belief, let’s go home now telling the world in no uncertain voice, who and whose we are as set out in our Tuesday Mantra. 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!’ 

So let’s go out now and do just that nuh; share the LOVE and friendship of Jesus with those unfortunate ones who don’t know Him! Much LOVE!

…and ye my flock…the flock of my pasture…are men…and I am your God…saith the Lord God…(Ezek. 34:31)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 January 2020 Hebrews 11:6.

Hebrews 11:6.    ​But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
 

So we made it through Monday quite nicely, why can’t we do the same today, Tuesday eh? Especially when we have the Creator and Controller of this great universe riding a continual and steady shotgun beside us? No reason whatsoever my faithful brethren since He’s promised to give us all that we need and never leave or forsake us! Brother! Those promises are surely worth more than their weight in gold! 

And yes, in this busy, evil, trouble-filled world, it’s sometimes hard to keep our wits about us and our heads above water, but if we truly believe in the Lord God Almighty and His awesome Son Jesus Christ and the amazing working of the Holy Spirit, then we can do whatever we need to do in their names and strength to fulfill the mandate they’ve given us; that is to spread the gospel all over the world and be obedient to their commands; living a life of LOVE and good fellowship. 

Now here’s a word from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) on the matter from His Hour of Power Devotional, something he calls ‘the Possibility Thinker’s Creed.’ Please pray with me: ‘When faced with a mountain, I will not quit! I will keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath, or simply stay and turn the mountain into a gold mine – with God’s help!’ 

Mamma Mia! That’s what you call tenacity and stick-to-itiveness! (smile) And that’s exactly what is expected of the true believer, the true Christian soul – no giving up, because the words ‘give up’ don’t exist in Jesus’ vocabulary. And how could it eh friends, when He claims to be able to do ALL things, impossible or otherwise, and support us in doing the same? 

And giving up also makes this verse of scripture which we like to quote of no consequence: ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.’ (Phil. 4:13) If that is a true statement then with Jesus’ help, we can keep on keeping on as long as it takes, and as difficult as the task is. 

Yuh see what Gramps Schuller says he’ll do when a mountain gets in his way: He will keep on striving, looking at all the alternatives; climb over it, find a pass through it, tunnel underneath it. And if all of that fails, then he’ll just stay right there and turn the mountain into a gold mine. And that’s how we believers ought to behave; do everything in our power, with God’s help, to succeed, but if none of our efforts are successful, then it means that the Lord wants us to stay right where we are and grow and do His will right there! 

And yuh know what my people, our unsuccessful efforts usually stem from a few basic things. First off, an insufficient amount of mountain moving faith. And one of Jesus’ most critical remarks was: ‘O ye of little faith.’ (Matt.6:30, 8:26, 14:31) Hear His rebuke to the disciples when they could not heal a demon possessed boy and asked Him why. 

‘And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove (move); and nothing shall be impossible to you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.’ (Matt.17:20-21) Yes my people, a believer with even a little faith can do a lot of things, especially if his actions are accompanied by sincere prayer and fasting. And I think that’s a catch 22 situation; the li’l faith is built up, made stronger by the prayer and fasting. (smile) 

And the next place we go wrong in living our lives is by ignoring Jesus’ serious command: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Jesus, as throughout all of the Sermon on the Mount keeps emphasizing the importance of the spiritual living over that of the material. Yes friends, once we have pledged our lives, our allegiance to Christ, we then need to live primarily in the Spirit, and not the flesh, meaning the material things of this world ought not to be our first LOVE. 

‘The believer is to seek first the righteousness that is characteristic of God’s kingdom and then all these things (material things) shall be added to him. When our priority is spiritual, God will take care of the material, for where God guides, He provides.’ It all comes right back to faith my people: if you believe in God, then you must believe that He can and will do whatever He says. 

That’s why Hebrews tells us: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ So basically friends, to be a true believer, we must believe that God exists, then have true faith in Him, and then live the way He wants us to live, not the way we want to live. 

Now for those of us who are sincerely trying to do those things, let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are. As one strong and sincere voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and share that amazing LOVE and friendship, as Jesus so greatly desires of us nuh! Much LOVE!

…Christianity 101…believe that there is a God…have sincere faith in Him…be truly obedient to His will…

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