Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 August 2019 John 10:11.

John 10:11.    ​I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
 

Please get with the programme friends! What programme you ask? How yuh mean what programme eh? It’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, that means church calls! Yes, we’re required to join with other believers in the Lord’s sanctuary to worship and exalt our heavenly Father, encourage each other, hear His Holy Word and get confidence to go out and fight another week of victorious battles in His name! Yes friends, it’s the biggest day of the week! So let’s begin the celebrations in our usual manner nuh; in song, in praise and worship, telling our wonderful God how much we LOVE and admire and revere Him. 

And today’s song of praise is possibly the second most known and LOVED bit of scripture, after the ‘Our Father,’ or ‘Lord’s Prayer.’ And we talking about Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd! Yes mih people, Bruh David’s amazing and immortal words celebrating the care, compassion and LOVING-kindness of the God of his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! So in strong voice, with plenty soul and sincere emotion, truly believing those simple but awesomely descriptive words and sentiments, let’s sing!  

‘The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want He makes me lie down in green pastures He leads me beside the still waters He restore’th my soul And guides my path in righteousness For His name’s sake Surely goodness and mercy Shall follow me all the days of my life And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever and ever and ever. 

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. Thou prepar’est a table Before me in the presence of my enemies Thou anoint’est my head with oil My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and LOVING-kindness Shall follow me all the days of my life And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever and ever and ever. Amen!’ 

What a marvellous description of our Jehovah God! I don’t think it could be described any better, for we are indeed lost and dumb like sheep and we desperately need a good and kindly shepherd to lead and guide and take care of us. And there’s none who does it better than Yahweh; our Creator, Provider, Healer, Comforter, our Be All and End All! Yes indeed, our heavenly Father is all those things to us, and when you add His unconditional LOVE, grace, and forgiveness to the already long list of His wonderful attributes, you just have to jump and shout for joy and declare: ‘Oh what a good thing I’ve got!’ 

And yuh know what friends, Bruh David could only have written such touching and heartfelt words because He experienced first hand the Lord’s goodness and LOVING-kindness in His blessed but oh so tumultuous and eventful life! And the imagery of God being our shepherd would have resonated quite well with the agrarian Israelites back then, because it was language they understood. 

And following that story line, the scholars make an interesting observation: ‘Believers are never pictured in Scripture as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on their Shepherd for His provision and protection. The believer is more than a dependent sheep, however; he is also like and honoured guest, since the Lord prepares a table for him (v.5). Connected with this honoured position is abundant provision, vindication before one’s enemies, and eternal celebration of God’s goodness.’ Oh brother! What could be better than all that eh? Absolutely NOTHING! 

And Isaiah also writes of God looking after His people in the shepherd metaphor. ‘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) 

Oh my people, there’s something that just resonates of calm and comfort and compassion and caring when we talk about shepherding. And I guess because in our current society we are more into manufacturing and technology than farming, and actual sheep herding is not a big thing, we don’t understand all the nuances involved, and thus cannot really appreciate the great importance of a shepherd to a flock of sheep. But believe me, without a shepherd, a kind and caring one, a flock of sheep would not last very long in the great outdoors. Consequently, when Jesus came He continued the metaphor of the shepherd looking after his flock. Thus, He made this magnificent proclamation: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’  

Oh friends, mankind should be ever so ecstatic and joyful that Jesus made such a statement then went on to make it true, laying down His sinless life for our sinful ones, so that we could be reconciled with the Father, and have our sins forgiven and our souls washed white as snow! But I guess because we don’t fully understand the chemistry and sync between shepherd and sheep we’re lost and unaware of the deep relationship that exists between them. 

But Jesus reminds us of that important relationship. ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ (John 10:14) Yes precious people, the shepherd knows all his sheep, and the sheep know their shepherd as Jesus earlier stated. ‘But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter (doorkeeper) openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.’ (John 10:2-5) 

Now that’s what our Lord and Saviour is expecting of us friends; to know His voice and follow His call, not that of stranger’s, for they will just lead you astray. And to make the picture complete, listen to Bruh Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians when they sacrificed to send him a gift. ‘But my God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:19) That means when we remain in Jesus’ fold we will be well fed by the Father through Him. 

‘Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Phil.4:20) Please have a blessed day my fellow saints in Christ! Much LOVE!

…sheep without a shepherd…is like the blind leading the blind…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 July 2017 Lamentations 3:22.

Lamentations 3:22.   It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Well friends, that joy-filled day called Sunday has rolled around again! And with it, we gather in the Lord’s sanctuary to worship, joyfully sing and praise His holy name. There’s nothing that can compare to a gathering of fellow believers singing and praising Almighty God! That’s because it’s the essence of who we are, why we were so gloriously made. 

So let’s not make me a liar (smile), let’s send up to heaven wonderful words of praise and glory, joy and thanksgiving as we sing the beautiful and grateful words of the hymn; ‘New every morning is the LOVE!’ Yes my fellow believers, let’s offer up the sacrifice of praise with heartfelt song,. As an earthly choir, sounding like heavenly angels, let’s sing!

‘New every morning is the LOVE Our wakening and uprising prove; Through sleep and darkness safely brought, Restored to life and power and thought. New mercies, each returning day, Hover around us while we pray; New perils past, new sins forgiven, New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven. If, on our daily course, our mind Be set to hallow all we find, New treasures still, of countless price, God will provide for sacrifice. 

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be, As more of heaven in each we see; Some softening gleam of LOVE and prayer Shall dawn on every cross and care. We need not bid, for cloistered cell, Our neighbor and our words farewell, Nor strive to find ourselves too high For sinful man beneath  the sky.

The trivial round, the common task, Will furnish all we ought to ask; Room to deny ourselves, a road To bring us daily nearer God. Seek we no more; content with these, Let present rapture, comfort, ease As heaven shall bid them, come and go: The secret this of rest below. Only, O Lord, in Thy dear LOVE, Fit us for perfect rest above, And help us, this and every day, To live more nearly as we pray.’ 

Yes friends, each and every day the Lord showers down new mercies, blessings, grace, forgiveness, strength…you name it…He provides it free of charge. What an awesome God we serve and worship my brethren! I wonder if we truly realize that eh? No other faith on this earth can truthfully declare the things that we declare. 

Neither is any other faith as joyful, sorry, should be joyful as we Christians. And I corrected myself there because too many of us supposed believers walk around sad and lethargic, bowed and bending, as though we are carrying the whole weight of the world on our shoulders. But precious saints of God, two thousand years ago our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary and took all our burdens, all our sins, all our transgressions on His strong and comely shoulders! 

Why?  So that we would not have to be sad and miserable and burdened any more, but be filled with His wonderful peace, abundant joy and glorious unconditional LOVE! So why, as a group, are we so unhappy eh? Or rather why don’t we show the true external realities that our internal blessings ought to engender? Because we’re ashamed, afraid, lackadaisical, don’t truly believe…  

Who knows eh? But the long and short of the story friends, is as Jeremiah says in his Lamentations, which includes our Bit. Poor Jerry had been battered and beaten and locked up by his fellow countrymen when he preached repentance to them. But when he had time to reflect on it all, this is what he said. 

‘Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall (bitterness), My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled (bowed down) in me. This I recall to my 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.’ (Lam.3:20-23) 

Oh friends, what a marvellous testimony, based on gospel truth! And think about it nuh, Jerry didn’t have Jesus in the manner that we now have Him, and all the wonderful stuff that He bequeathed us. But yet still he (Jerry) knew on which side his bread was buttered, and despite his calamities, gave God the thanks and the praise He so rightfully deserved. 

Listen as he continues. ‘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 quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.’ (Lam.3:24-26) Words of indisputable truth my brethren! 

And the scholars tell us that ‘3:26. Jeremiah’s observation resembles those of other saints who have experienced great grief of soul.’ And they reference people like, Habakkuk, Job, Bruh David, Isaiah and Bruh Paul. So friends, serving God is wise, wonderful and right, but not always easy. But we have to remember too that the Lord will never give us a task to accomplish without giving us the wherewithal to accomplish it. 

That’s His outstanding modus operandi, as you can see from the records of all the great men of faith we just mentioned. They all  had it tough, but they all accomplished their given tasks with flying colours. God never forsook them, even when they were out of step with His plan for their lives, but was instead merciful and compassionate because He knew their human frailties would sometimes lead them astray. 

My precious people of God, it’s the same way He behaves with us. But we have to stand strong during our adversities and trials, otherwise we’ll forsake the good things He has in store for us. Hear Asaph tell us about the Israelites plight from Psalm 78 – A reminder of God’s goodness to Israel. 

‘For their heart was not right (steadfast) with him, neither were they steadfast (faithful) in their covenant. But he being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time he turned his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passeth away; and cometh not again.’ (Ps.78:37-39)  So friends, the Lord knows our capabilities, since He created us, and will not leave us high and dry because we make mistakes. 

Bruh David says it best in the closing verse of Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd. ‘Surely goodness and mercy (LOVING-kindness) will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ (Ps.23:6) And if we refuse to believe that, then it’s to our great detriment my brethren. Much LOVE!

…only the Lord’s mercies…through Christ’s shed blood at Calvary…keeps us from being annihilated for our abominable transgressions…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 June 2017 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.

‘Oh what a beautiful morning! Oh what a beautiful day! Oh what a beautiful morning! Everything’s going my way!’ 

Wow friends! What more can I say eh? Oh, possibly: ‘Something good is going to happen to me today! Something good is going to happen through me today!’ 

Yeh mih breddren, that’s the feeling, the positive, conquering, can’t lose feeling you experience in your spirit when Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour! Give glory and exaltation to His Holy Name! 

Abundant joy ought to mark the Christian’s life. What does the Good Book say? ‘The joy of the Lord is our strength!’ That means if we truly have the Lord in our lives, we ought to have joy and strength. 

And to make it an even better day, both the Sun and Son are shining as brightly as ever in my neck of the woods. It couldn’t get any better than that nuh mih people. And I guess you all are wandering what I’m so high on this beautiful Thursday morning in June of 2017? (smile) 

Well, as far as far as I know, I’m high on nothing but life! Life, my friends, as experienced and guided by the Spirit of Christ! Like the Holy Spirit got a zeppo from heaven directing it to infuse me with a shot of whatever, to get me excited about Christ and about this day. 

Now isn’t that refreshing and stimulating? It surely is! And why you ask, would the Holy Spirit do that eh? My best guess is because heaven wants me to share that excitement with you all, and to also get you high on life. 

Oh doesn’t our great and wonderful God move in mysterious ways? He surely does my fellow believers! That’s one of the many things I LOVE about Him; the way He can come up with wonderful goodies, at a time when you least expect them. 

But then too, He can also allow rough times when we least expect them. But as Job so rightly says, we can’t expect to have the good without the bad. But too many of us supposed Christians are always so sad and dreary, without real joy in our lives. 

We walk around with droopy shoulders, with heads hung low as though we’ve recently lost our best friend or our mother, wrongly believing that to be joyful is not a true Christian virtue. Chuh! That’s a totally false premise my people! 

Listen here, if we have Jesus dying for us on the cross at Calvary, so that our sins can be forgiven, then being raised from the dead, so that we too can be raised, consequently being reconciled to God, with assured promises of salvation and eternal life, plus unending grace and mercy here on earth, why wouldn’t you be joyful eh? 

Oh friends, as I keep trying to instill in us, we Christians should be the most joyful people on the face of this earth, and we ought to show it too, so that others can see it and want that pure, unadulterated joy and peace that ONLY comes through being in a personal relationship with the ONE and ONLY Jesus Christ, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, to whom all knees must eventually bow, and all lips declare his awesome majesty to the glory of Jehovah God! 

And all that I’ve said so far my brethren, comes as a direct result of the actions involved in our Bit. ‘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.’ 

Oh how magnanimous and full of LOVING-kindness is our wonderful God! But we don’t truly appreciate it, otherwise we’d be beating down His doors to get to Him, instead of doing our best to remove Him from our society. 

But listen to this explanation from the scholars, hopefully, it will change your mind, bring you to your senses. ‘5:21. Three aspects of Paul’s concept of imputation (forgiveness) are seen in this passage. In verse 19 God imputes not iniquity (cf. Ps.32:2). Then He imputes sin to Christ, the spotless Lamb of God (cf. John 1:29; 1 Pet.1:19). 

Finally, God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the sinner’s account. This truth may be viewed from the side of justification, whereby the sinner is declared righteous based on the merits of Jesus Christ (cf. Rom.3:24-25), or it may be viewed from the side of sanctification, whereby the righteousness of Christ is daily applied. This latter sense is probably in view here. Compare 3:18’, see also 1 Cor.1:2).’ 

Ah mih people, yuh see the greatness of our God? You can look at your forgiveness in two different ways. Now hopefully that explanation will have some effect on us, especially if we look up the scriptures mentioned there. Please take a minute and do that nuh mih brethren, they are all interesting and worthwhile, and it is all for our benefit, not God’s. 

And if you still don’t believe all that’s been said above, then just look at the enormous amount of blessings we receive when we partner with Christ nuh. So let’s declare our Thursday Blessings with the excitement, the enthusiasm and sincere belief they deserve. 

As one now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! 

I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

And since blessings need to be spoken over someone for them to take effect, let’s go out and bless a whole lot of others today, my faithful followers of Christ! That’s what He desires of us. Much LOVE!

…oh the joy of being in Christ…and Him being in us…it’s so wonderful…that mere words can’t do it justice…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 March 2016 1 Corinthians 15:22

1 Corinthians 15:22.    For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

HAPPY   EASTER!

Oh friends, oh friends, is Easter Sunday! Glory Hallelujah! It’s a time to sing and dance, praise, worship, magnify and glorify our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! For since the beginning of time there has never been a day like this one! A day of such joyful celebration and giving of heartfelt thanks and gratitude! 

And here too, since the original fall of man, are the three most important words ever spoken: ‘HE IS RISEN!’ 

Yes my fellow believers, Christ is risen indeed! All praise and glory be to our God, the Father of grace and mercy and forgiveness and LOVE, who so skillfully and wisely orchestrated and engineered the events that led up to this magnificent day some two thousand years ago, and by which, through hungry hope and expectant faith we still live these many years hence! 

And so we ought to, because it’s the greatest miracle that has ever been done; a man, the Son of God, being raised from the dead to eternal life! Mama Yo! No wonder we describe our heavenly Father as being omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present, for only such a mighty, all-seeing and all-knowing Deity could conceive of such a brilliant plan, and then successfully bring it to fruition! 

Yeh friends, I don’t know about you all nuh, but I am certainly ecstatic to be alive and able to celebrate this Easter Day! You know Christmas is big and wonderful and exciting and all that, but it’s Easter that makes the big difference in the disposition of our souls. 

Without Jesus’ death and resurrection we would have been forced to spend eternity separated from the Father, in the sordid, evil company of Beelzebub. Now who in their right mind would ever want to spend any time at all with him eh, much less all of eternity?  Steups! 

Sadly though, some foolish and evil men are consciously making that choice. However, with Jesus’ selfless sacrifice, offering His life on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, we now have the wonderful option of spending eternity in heaven with the Holy Trinity! 

Now what can be more reassuring, exciting and momentous than that eh mih breddren? NOTHING AT ALL! 

Unfortunately, the unwise ones who are choosing Beelzebub over Jesus, will have a rude awakening come the Judgement day, when they are cast into the lake of fire with their leader for all eternity. 

And the trouble is that no one but the Father knows the day and time of that monumental event, so it’s necessary, in fact essential that we come to faith, place our sincere trust and belief in Jesus asap, and for sure before we depart this earthly life, for once our hearts are still, so too our options are dead, finito! 

That’s why I keep encouraging us to sincerely turn to Jesus Christ and follow Him, for He is indeed the WAY, the LIGHT, the LIFE and the TRUTH of this world! No one comes to Jehovah God but through Him! 

Oh my people, Christ died on Good Friday and all our sins died with Him. He rose on Easter Sunday clean as a whistle, having defeated hell, death and the grave! 

Wow! That means all of mankind has a new chance to be reconciled to their Creator, through Jesus. And how are we assured of that? Listen to Bruh Paul’s words on the subject to the Corinthians. 

‘But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept (have fallen asleep, have died). For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ (1 Cor.15:20-22)  

Ah friends, through Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, we were all committed to a life of sin, born with a sinful nature, but through the LOVE and grace and forgiveness of our magnificent and magnanimous God, Jesus Christ paid the enormous price for our sins. 

Since the price of sin is death, it meant that only a sinless soul could reprieve us from a death sentence. And since Jesus was the only sinless soul besides the Father in existence, the awful but extremely liberating task fell to Him. And like the stalwart giant that He is, He carried out His task with a steadfast sense of purpose. Oh precious people, if we could only be so steadfast and purposeful in following Him eh! 

And I purposely chose not to get into all the descriptions of the Easter Morn in the Good Book because we all know the story of how Jesus’ followers came to the tomb and found the stone rolled back and the tomb empty, and the two angels who asked them why they were seeking the living amongst the dead and reminded them of His warning: ‘The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ (Luke 24:7) 

Also how Mary Magdalene in her sorrow mistook Jesus for the gardener and almost died from an overdose of joy when she realized it was her Lord and Master. (John 20:11-18) 

Simply regurgitating it didn’t appeal to me, and this is where the Holy Spirit led me, and I do hope you all enjoy this slightly different offering. (smile) 

And I want to end this Easter morning with some rather appropriate words of warning from Jesus, re the Son’s relationship with the Father. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 

For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgement also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (condemnation).’ (John 5:25-29) 

Oh my fellow believers, please, please, today let’s pay special attention to those warning words of Jesus nuh, for our very destiny depends on our actions down here on earth. And as we go out and celebrate this wonderful Easter season, please let’s also remember Granny’s wise advice. ‘Drunk or sober, please mind your business.’ 

For it is in these times of great joy and celebration that we tend to let our hair down a little too much and allow Lucifer to get a toehold in our souls. Let’s be wise not do that this weekend nuh. Much LOVE!

…death could not conquer Him…the grave could not hold Him…for as the Son of man…He was the giver of life…eternal life…