Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 October 2018 John 7:37-38

John 7:37-38.   In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly (heart) shall flow rivers of living water.

‘Sunday morning coming down…’ And the Lord’s sanctuary is filled to overflowing! Bless His holy name! The faithful believers have come to renew their connection to Almighty God; to sing His praises and give Him thanks, hear His Word and receive His body and blood in the symbolic gesture of communion, thereby reawakening and reenergizing their listless and tired souls. 

Wow friends! What a blessing it is to have fellowship every Sunday with other believers under the remarkable auspices of our Creator! So as we do every Sunday, let’s begin the proceedings with some praise and worship to soften up our hearts and make them more receptive to the word. 

And today’s song of praise is that old but magical hymn, ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,’ taken from the 10th and last movement of the cantata ‘Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life,’ composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in the early 18th century. This version we’re going to sing today, is apparently the most common English one, written by poet laureate Robert Bridges. 

So without further ado, let’s raise our heads, hearts, eyes and voices to high heaven in sweet, adorable and exalted praise, accompanied by the scintillating symphonic music of the master composer, as performed by the full orchestra. As one harmonious choir now: ‘Jesus, joy of man’s desiring, Holy wisdom, LOVE most bright; Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring Soar to uncreated light. 

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned, With the fire of life impassioned, Striving still to truth unknown, soaring, dying round Thy throne. Through the way where hope is guiding, Hark, what peaceful music rings; Where the flock, in Thee confiding, Drink of joy from deathless springs. Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure; Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure. Thou dost ever lead Thine own In the LOVE of joys unknown.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my brethren! Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ALWAYS leads us, His faithful people, with LOVE, to unknown, unbelievable gasps of joy! Praise His Holy Name! Oh friends, Jesus is indeed the joy of our desire!

And why not eh? He has Holy wisdom, the brightest LOVE that exists and shines in the universe, not to mention the everlasting hope of salvation and eternal life He’s provided for us through His ever-faithful promises and sacrificial actions of two thousand years ago. 

Now let’s hear his Word, which fashioned our flesh, then breathed the fire of impassioned life into it, as we strive to uncover unknown truths from it. And today’s scripture deals with ‘Drink of joy from deathless springs.’ Listen as our Lord and Saviour expounds on His abilities with thrilling confidence. 

‘In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly (heart) shall flow rivers of living water.’ (John 7:37-38) 

And can you imagine the confusion those statements caused amongst the mainly ignorant crowd. ‘But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.’ (John 7:39) 

Yes friends, Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit that was to come upon every believer after His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension back to heaven. And if we’re truly spiritually thirsty, the best place to seek relief from that thirst is in Jesus.  He is the ONLY one who can quench, can satisfy, can satiate our thirsty souls! 

And in the end of the Good Book, He again declares unto John: ‘I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star’ (Rev.22:16)

And what does this revealing angel make known to John? ‘And the Spirit (Holy Spirit) and the bride (the church) say, Come (to Christ in faith for eternal life). And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst (thirsty) come. And whosoever will (desires), let him take the water of life freely.’ (Rev.22:17) 

Oh friends, you can’t beat that offer! It’s the best offer going in this mish-mash world! And we’ll end with these beautiful words of scripture as prophesied by Isaiah about the Lord’s doings through Jesus.

‘Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. 

And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings (deeds) among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.’ (Is.12:2-6) 

And our Lord and Saviour is indeed great in our midst my brethren! So let’s be wise and do like the prophet advised nuh; let’s call on His name, declare His deeds, exalt His holy name and above all, accept His free offer of grace, whereby we can receive salvation and eternal life! That is wisdom of everlasting proportions! Much LOVE!

…in Jesus…we have EVERYTHING…we can ever need…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 July 2018 Genesis 1:31.

Genesis 1:31.   And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Oh friends and fellow believers, it’s Sunday and consequently I am inviting us all to visit the Lord’s sanctuary some time today. And I do hope I get a welcome response like Bruh David gave when that same invitation was meted out to him a long time ago. ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) 

Oh my brethren, how many of us truly feel that way eh, truly are glad to go the Lord’s house on a Sunday? Or are we just going for going sake, just to say we went to church on Sunday? Now I know that some days we just don’t feel like getting up so early in the morning, on what’s supposed to be a day of rest (smile) getting dressed and trudging dutifully to church, but that’s not the right attitude for a true believer. 

We ought to be joyful to go and worship the Lord in fellowship with other believers, but oftimes the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak and we force ourselves to go with a half-hearted attitude. But yuh know what, that is better than making excuses and not going at all. Don’t worry, the Lord sees our hearts and knows what we’re going through and will suitably enliven us when we get to His house and get involved with the proceedings. 

But enough talk, let’s open as always with some worship, some praise and thanks to soften up our hearts and get us in the mood. And today we’re celebrating God’s wondrous work in nature. So let’s open up our mouths in sweet sacrifice as we sing the wonderful, age-old hymn penned by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) titled ‘All things bright and beautiful.’ 

Let’s sing it like we truly mean it friends: ‘(Refrain: All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.) Each little flow’r that opens, each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings. [Refrain] The purple-headed mountain, the river running by, the sunset and the morning that brightens up the sky. [Refrain] 

The cold wind in the winter, the pleasant summer sun, the ripe fruits in the garden: He made them ev’ry one. [Refrain] He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell how great is God Almighty, who has made all things well. [Refrain: All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them ALL!.)’ 

And did He ever my brethren! He made them bright and beautiful, wise and wonderful! Of every colour and every variety, each to serve a certain useful purpose in His wonderful world! And look at His reaction after making them nuh. The Good Book tells us in our Bit: ‘And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.’ 

Yes my people, after six long days of hard work, the Lord inspected His handiwork, and with a heartwarming sensation, saw that everything He had made ‘was very good.’ Chuh! What else would you have expected from our wise, mighty and ingenious God eh? Nothing less than amazing stuff! And I’m sure He was proud of His handiwork too. Who wouldn’t be proud of creating such an awesome, intriguing, totally interconnected and stellar universe! 

And today all I want to do is look at some scriptures that show His most prized creation, mankind, did and does appreciate the beauty with which He has surrounded us. Hear how Nehemiah puts it: ‘Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshipeth thee.’ (Neh.9:6) 

And Psalm 104 – God’s preservation of nature – is a wonderful tribute to God’s works. We don’t have the time nor space for all of it, so please read it for yourself. But here are some marvellous excerpts. ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain…

Who laid the foundations of the earth. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away…He watereth the hills from his (upper) chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. 

He causeth grass to grow for the cattle, and herb (vegetation) for the service of man; that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart…He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down…O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches…’ (Ps.104:1-2, 5-7, 13-15, 24) 

Oh my brethren, the Lord thought of everything when He made the universe! You can’t find one mistake in it! That’s why He is God, and we are the sheep of His pasture who ought to be obedient to His commandments and worship Him in all sincerity and truth. So please let’s get a diligent move on in that direction nuh people; wisdom and common sense dictate it. Much LOVE!

…if you can’t admire and enjoy the Lord’s handiwork…then you can’t admire the Lord…nor enjoy communication with Him…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 April 2018 Psalm 9:7.

Psalm 9:7.   The Lord also will be a refuge (stronghold) for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

‘I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Oh my fellow believers, what better way is there to begin this first Sunday after Easter than with the encouraging words of Bruh David eh? None really! 

And I do hope that we all will be glad to go to the Lord’s sanctuary today to give Him thanks and praise and receive His awesome renewal of our souls and spirits through the reading of His word and our fellowship with other believers, so that we can continue to do His work with exceeding diligence and excellence in this evil and ungodly society. What a mouthful! (smile) But a truthful mouthful. 

And as always, we’ll begin with some praise and worship to soften up our hearts, so that the Lord’s word can quietly and easily seep into all its nooks and crannies and revive us. Glory to God my brethren, for there is none like Him! Therefore let’s raise our voices to high heaven in sacrificial praise as we sing the golden oldie hymn, ‘Rock of Ages.’ It’s a hymn based on the theme of refuge, and today we’re seeking refuge in our great God. 

All together now people: ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure, Save from wrath and make me pure. Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, All for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die. While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyes shall close in death, When I rise to worlds unknown, And behold Thee on Thy throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.’

Ah friends, there is no place of greater safety and refuge than under the mighty wings of our omnipotent God, as our Bit and the verse following it testify. ‘The Lord also will 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.90-10) 

Oh precious people of God, that’s gospel truth and wisdom to the nth level!  And Bruh David is talking about us there; the ones who wisely put their trust in Almighty God! Glory be my people! Now that theme of refuge and stronghold being found in God is a constant in Bruh David’s writings. Let’s look at some of them. 

In Psalm 32 – The blessedness of forgiveness, he powerfully proclaims: ‘Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about (surround me) with songs of deliverance.   Selah.’ (Ps.32:7) 

Meanwhile in Psalm 46 – God is our refuge and strength – Bruh David opens with this bold declaration: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present (an abundantly available) help in time of trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst (the heart) of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.   Selah.’ (Ps.46:1-3) 

Wow! What powerful and trustworthy sentiments my fellow believers! I do hope that all of us gathered here today can express them as sincerely and powerfully, for it is only when we have that kind of faith, trust and security in our heavenly Father, that we can walk this evil and cruel earth with true courage. 

And lastly, in Psalm 62 – God only is my rock and my salvation – Bruh David declares in no uncertain terms: ‘Truly my soul waiteth (waits silently) upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense (strong tower); I shall not be greatly moved (shaken)…In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.’ (Ps.62:1-3, 7).  

Yes mih breddren, Bruh David was very sure of the One in whom he placed his trust; the Creator and Controller of the universe. And likewise, so should we. But just in case we don’t, or we’re not sure, let’s take this wise and very timely advice from Bruh David. ‘Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.   Selah.’ (Ps.62:8) And that’s the indisputable truth! 

So let’s go home this morning refreshed and lifted up my fellow believers, with God joyfully filling every inch of our hearts, bodies and souls, as our heavenly Father desires. Much LOVE!

…wisdom, common sense and logic…all dictate that we put our trust…in the One who created the universe and all therein…