Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 March 2020 Philippians 2:9.

Philippians 2:9.    ​Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.
 
One more Sunday without corporate worship my fellow believers… But that’s okay, just like our overwhelming technological society has driven us away from God, that same technology will now help us come back to Him! Glory to God and the mysterious ways in which He works! So we will worship by radio, TV, internet, telephone, whatever it takes. Believers can be very astute innovators when the time calls for it. (smile) So let’s have church nuh; with praise and worship and thanksgiving and the Word of God to keep us bright and fresh, assured and energized and courageous in these turbulent and unsure times.  And all God’s people said a loud and proud: ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do by opening today’s proceedings with a marvellous song. Oh my people, my people, it’s going to be a wonderful day of worship, so let’s get to singing this most appropriate contemporary song written by Brooke Ligertwood and Ben Fielding down under (Australia) back in 2015. It’s elegantly titled: ‘What A Beautiful Name!’ And it’s obvious that they are referring Jesus, for there’s no other name in all the universe as beautiful as His. And if you don’t know the song you can check it out on YouTube, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir or the Times Square Church Choir versions. 

So let’s belt out a harmonious, soulful, rocking version a la Times Square Church Choir, beginning with (Chorus 1: ‘What a beautiful Name it is What a beautiful Name it is The Name of Jesus Christ my King What a beautiful Name it is Nothing compares to this What a beautiful Name it is The Name of Jesus.) You were the Word at the beginning One with God the Lord Most High Your hidden glory in creation Now revealed in You our Christ. (Chorus 1: What a beautiful name it is…. The Name of Jesus.) You didn’t want heaven without us So Jesus You brought heaven down My sin was great Your LOVE was greater What could separate us now. 

(Chorus 2: What a wonderful Name it is What a wonderful Name it is The Name of Jesus Christ my King What a wonderful Name it is Nothing compares to this What a wonderful Name it is The Name of Jesus What a wonderful Name it is The Name of Jesus.) (Bridge: Death could not hold You The veil tore before You, You silence the boast of sin and grave The heavens are roaring The praise of Your glory For You are raised to life again You have no rival You have no equal Now and forever God You reign Yours is the kingdom Yours is the glory Yours is the Name above all names. 

(Chorus 3: What a powerful Name it is What a powerful Name it is The Name of Jesus Christ my King What a powerful Name it is Nothing can stand against it What a powerful Name it is The Name of Jesus. What a beautiful Name it is What a beautiful Name it is. What a wonderful Name it is What a wonderful Name it is. What a powerful Name it is What a powerful Name it is… The Name of Jesus Christ my King… The Name of Jesus Christ my King…’ 

Mama, Mama! Was that ever moving my brethren! You could hear the sincerity in our voices, rising from the depths of our hearts! And the harmony was truly awesome! Wow! And as usual, Jesus sits at the Father’s side with a shy, boyish smile, acknowledging our praise and gratitude, but not really wanting to be in the limelight. And you know what? I found something written by the composers on the Hillsong Worship site explaining some of their thoughts about the song, and it sounds much better than anything I could write, so I’ll just share it. 

The core scriptures for the song were Hebrews 1:1-4 and Colossians 1:15-20, 26-27. And they go on to say: “To know God and to worship Him (“to enjoy Him forever) is the most fundamental reason for our existence. As Jesus reveals the great mysteries of God, we come to know more of who God is, glimpsing new facets of His beauty, wonder and power. “Beauty” evokes the tenderness of His LOVE and the sweetness of His presence. “Wonder” speaks to our gratitude for salvation, awe at the length of His sacrifice. “Power” affirms His supremacy and Sovereignty – an exhortation to remember our access to the power of God in every situation, as we call upon and declare the Name of Jesus. 

‘What a beautiful name it is What a wonderful name it is What a powerful name it is The Name of Jesus.’ Jesus has the Name above all others. Anything that we can name – from our greatest triumphs to our greatest challenges – comes under the authority of His Name. This song confesses that no greater beauty or source of wonder exists outside of Jesus, “the radiance of God’s glory” (Heb.1:3). The song is also a statement that Jesus has no rival or equal. His power is unmatched and absolute. Perhaps some of us understand God LOVES us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but haven’t grasped His power, ability and will to move strongly in our present circumstances. 

Or perhaps, we understand God as the supreme, omnipotent Deity He is, but have never known Him close and tender, as a friend acquainted with the depths of our humanity, knowing our flaws cannot perturb His LOVE. Our prayer for this song is that we can all enter into a deeper, more lateral, revelation of the person of Jesus Christ – the epitome of beauty!” 

Wow! How is that for a sermon in these troubled times eh? I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of the writers. This is the time for ALL of us to come to a strong understanding and appreciation of the wonderful, powerful and beautiful Lord and Saviour that we have dwelling in us, with us, and around us! Whose abounding and everlasting LOVE caused Him to selflessly sacrifice His holy life for us on the cross at Calvary, so that we could be redeemed! 

No wonder the Good Book excitedly declares: ‘Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of (those) things in heaven, and (those) things in earth, and (those) things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil. 2:9-11) That seals the case friends! Matter fix! Put that in yuh pipe and smoke it! (smile) Much LOVE!

…Jesus is…El Numero Uno…no ifs, ands or buts about it…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 January 2020 Ecclesiastes 12:13.

Ecclesiastes 12:13.    ​Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
 
Well who says that this life isn’t interesting eh? When I got up about half an hour ago, it only seemed to be a cold, dreary looking kind of day in my neck of the woods. However, on going back upstairs just now to make a cup of caffeine, I happened to look outside again, and boy was our friend, those beautiful looking white flakes ever coming down out there! Yeh! With a vengeance too! Just goes to show how quickly things and times can change – except for ONE all-important fact; the unchangeability, the unchanging nature of our great God, Jehovah! The steadfast and everlasting sameness of His sovereignty and faithfulness! 

And all of God’s children gave out with a loud and grateful shout of ‘Praise the Lord! Bless His holy name!  Praise Him for being the same yesterday, today and forever! Praise Him for being ever-faithful and constantly watching over us like a good shepherd does over his flock! We thank You Lord for giving us this day, and know that despite the difficulties we may face, you are always right there beside us, riding shotgun, through the flood, through the fire and through the storm, ably leading and guiding us! We give you thanks and praise in the most holy and revered name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Ah friends, our God is indeed a great and very interesting deity. It wasn’t my plan to get into that prayer above, but I guess He wanted to hear some sacrifice of praise from us this morning, so He led me there. (smile) And if that’s the case, then I had better do the other thing He seems to want me to do. What’s that you ask? Well yesterday when I opened the Good Book, it opened at this particular scripture, but I ignored it and looked elsewhere for our Bit. However, today, it’s opened at the very same scripture! 

Now would you call that coincidence…or luck…or some such worldly thing? Well it just might be, but I’m not taking the chance to ignore it for another day. I’m going to behave as if it’s a sign from the Almighty, that He wants us to delve into this particular Bit of scripture on this particular, cold and snowy day! Call me cowardly if you want. (smile) So here s that particular Bit of scripture…and it’s a powerful one too! Hold on to your hats and your horses, as Cousin Sol, writing as the Preacher -Ecclesiastes, gives us the benefit of his extensive research. 

‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.’ Yes friends and fellow believers, that is the wisest and most sensible course of action we can ever take in this life. And how did Cousin Sol come to that awesome and auspicious conclusion? Because with his time, money and wisdom, he had embarked on a thorough research project of seeking work, pleasure and all the other vices known to man and had found them to be all less than fulfilling. In his own words, it was all, nothing but vanity; futility. 

And what made him conclude thus? I suppose this certain fact he discovered: ‘For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.’ (Eccl.12:14) And that’s something most of us either don’t know, or forget or just casually ignore. But please listen to these immortal words of Bruh Paul to the Corinthians, re Jesus Christ being the only wise foundation to build on. 

‘Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble (straw); Every man’s work shall be made manifest (become evident): for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try (test) every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide (endures) which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by (through) fire.’ (1 Cor. 3:11-15) Oh my people, those are words of mighty importance to our lives. 

Listen to the scholars explain them. ‘3”13. The day is the day of the judgement seat of Christ (cf. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10). Fire is figurative for judgement, more specifically, the absolutely righteous judgement of God. Fire is used here to denote, not enlightening power, but consuming power. Of the six types of material mentioned, three are combustible and three are incombustible. See also Deut.4:24; Malachi 3:2; 2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 12:29.’  That means our work for Christ has to be solid, not cheap and frivolous, built on gold, silver, or precious stones, not hay, wood and straw, which will be quickly consumed in the judgement day fire. 

‘3:14. Reward (lit. “wages,” cf. 3:8). Of course, even the “wages” mentioned here are entirely a gift of grace (cf. 1 Cor.9:17; 2 John 8; Rev. 11:18).’ Yeh friends, we can get many rewards in this life and the next, but ALL are based on the grace of God, not on our efforts. ‘3:14. Saved: Such a one does not suffer the loss of his salvation, but the loss of reward. The stress in this entire passage is not on a person’s relationship to Christ, but on service to Christ.’ Hope those explanations bring a greater understanding to Bruh Paul’s words. But it’s also important for us to check out the scriptures listed in the explanations of the scholars. You will be surprised how they can enlighten you on a particular topic. 

So having said all of that, we come back to Cousin Sol, who from all he’s seen and experienced, reasons thus: ‘Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely (fitting) for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun (in which he toils) all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.’ (Eccl. 5:18). Ah my fellow believers, as the scholars explain: ‘5:18-20. Enjoyment is a gift of God, and man should be motivated by the brevity of his own life to experience it.’ 

No wonder Jesus said that He came so that we could have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) And He’s certainly given us the tools to do so; our Thursday Blessings. So let’s invoke them now in loud voice and sincere hearts nuh. ‘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 the same way those blessings were so generously bestowed on us, the same way we have to generously bestow them on others, not selfishly hoard them for ourselves. Much LOVE!

…working diligently for Jesus…doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy life…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 October 2016 Psalm 66:4.

Psalm 66:4.   All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name.   Selah.

Ah friends, the second big day of the week is here, and our journey through it will depend on how we handled the first big day of the week. (smile) Yeh mih people, it’s work time once again, and if we’ve  used the weekend properly, we’d be all set and ready, enthusiastic and can’t wait to get out into the world and show the godless and the heathen how a true believer in Jesus, a true Christian behaves. 

But since many of us have compromised ourselves on the weekend, consequently, we are not ready and able, or willing to face the evil hordes that abound in the working world. But there’s no reason to be anxious or afraid, for we have the right antidote for your problem.  It’s called our Monday Morning Battle Hymn and it energizes us, gets our adrenaline running so that we can go out and do good work for Jesus. 

So without further ado, let’s raise our voices heavenward in harmony and praise. ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Oh friends, that wasn’t too hot nuh; out of tune and not very enthusiastic, and our choirmaster, Jesus, definitely wasn’t pleased. You could see that by the serious look on His comely face and His unsmiling eyes. Nevertheless, most of us now have our motors idling smoothly, so let’s make like jack nuh, hit the road and do Jesus’ bidding, as per the Great Commission. (Matt.28:19-20) 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name.   Selah.’ 

Oh my brethren, that is ever so true! In due course of time, everyone on planet earth will be singing the praises of our wonderful God! Why? Because He is just such a magnificent, magnanimous, omnipotent, omniscient, omni-present, ever-LOVING, ever-caring, ever-faithful, kind, forgiving and compassionate Deity! Wow! 

He’s also the Creator of the universe and all therein! And there’s NO OTHER like Him! So why wouldn’t we worship and sing praises to Him eh? Not unless we’re foolish and unwise. And, unfortunately, there are way too many of that type in today’s world. They think that God is a joke, or He just doesn’t exist. 

But that’s the furthest thing from the truth my fellow believers, and we know that because God is at work in us, doing all sorts of wonderful things in our lives, as we work for Him down here, spreading the good news of Jesus, while storing up eternal rewards in heaven. Glory Hallelujah! 

Listen to how the psalmist continues after our Bit. ‘Come and see the works of God: he is terrible (awesome) in his doing toward the children of men, He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood (river) on foot: there did we rejoice in him. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves.   Selah.’ (Ps.66:5-7) 

Now that last statement is a very serious warning to the unbeliever; they ought not to think too highly of themselves, for with the same speed that they are exalted, the Lord will pull them back down for their false pride and egotistic disregard of His sovereignty. Not aligning oneself with the Creator and Controller of the universe and paying Him great homage is a fool’s wisdom my people.  

Hear the psalmist from Psalm 117, the shortest chapter in the Bible. ‘O Praise the Lord, all ye nations (gentiles) praise (glorify) him, all ye people. For his merciful (LOVING) kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.’ (Ps.117:1-2) 

And the scholars offer up these explanations on the psalm. ‘Psalm 117. This little psalm contains a great message. Though some have denied it an independent existence, attaching it to Psalm 116, Psalm 117 has all three elements of the hymn of praise: a call to praise (v.1), a cause for praise (v.2a, b), and a conclusion, which in this case is a simple praise ye the Lord (v.2c). 

The fact that the nations and people (lit. “peoples”) are addressed in verse 1 makes this psalm the only one in the Psalter addressed in its entirety to the Gentile world. Its evangelistic mood was still baffling to some of Paul’s readers. This is one of four passages that Paul quotes from the Old Testament, in Romans 15, to prove that God is interested in saving Gentiles.’  

Yeh friends, that’s one of the reasons Almighty God is worthy of much praise; He’s interested in saving EVERYBODY, not just some. Our God doesn’t play favourites, He wants all of His creation to come to Him, and that’s a part of our job. So please let’s get out there today and do it to the best of our ability nuh, obviously with the help of God, through His Holy Spirit that dwells within us. Much LOVE!

…praising our God should be an automatic, joyful and continuous response from believers…not a halfhearted, sometime thing…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 July 2016 Philippians 1:12

Philippians 1:12.    But I would ye should understand, (want you to know) brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out (turned out) rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.

‘TGIM! TGIM! Thank God it’s Monday!’ the Christian workers joyfully declared. ‘Thank God it’s Monday and we get to go back out into the cruel and oppressive work world and win souls for Christ! What a glorious endeavour!’ 

Oh friends, that’s the stuff dreams are made of! And please note that our wise and wonderful Creator would not have given us the gift of imagination, the power to dream, if He hadn’t wanted us to use it. 

And we must not dream too small either. I read just recently, I believe it’s in one of Gramps Schuller’s devotions (Robert H. Schuller), where he said that if you could accomplish your dream on your own, then it was too small. Our dreams have to be big enough so that we need to enlist God’s help with them. 

And that’s gospel truth my people! Dreams by definition are supposed to be bigger than us. And can you believe what monumental improvement, thinking like we opened with, would make to our war-torn and strife filled world! Mama Mia! 

But sadly I don’t see that change, that upliftment in Christian thinking happening any time soon. Thankfully though, there are no limits, no restrictions on dreaming. (smile) Now let’s keep that dream alive by singing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with the same enthusiasm and pizazz that we began with. 

So in sweet harmony and strong, melodious voice, let’s sing. ‘‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Now that was beautiful my people! You could see the fire in Jesus’ eyes and the energy in His spirit as He vigorously swung His conductor’s baton, guiding us in song.  

Wow! What a wonderful beginning to this Monday morning! And with our motors firing on all cylinders, and the adrenalin coursing mightily through our bodies, let’s go out into the sinful and disgusting world and do what we need to do to truly win souls for Christ! 

And all God’s people gave a purposeful shout of ‘Praise the Lord, for He is indeed worthy of our praise!’ 

Oh friends, the ole fella’s certainly on a roll this morning! (smile) But what’s the purpose of living, if we can’t be in high spirits more often that we’re in low ones eh? What did Jesus say about His coming to earth? He came that we, the sheep of His marvellous flock could have life in abundance. (John 10:10) 

And it would be a sacrilege, a sin, to live an abundant life in a lackadaisical, doh care manner. Life was meant to be lived my brethren, so let’s live it nuh! And that doesn’t mean in lustful and worldly fashion, but in a godly and righteous manner.  

Now I want to introduce our Bit here that shows how our God works in mysterious though sometimes difficult ways for His followers. We’ll continue today, from where we left off yesterday, that is with the missive that Bruh Paul wrote to the Philippians while in jail in Rome. 

‘But I would ye should understand, (want you to know) brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out (turned out) rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.’ Now that’s a very interesting scripture my people. But let’s keep reading, before we try to dissect it. 

‘So that my bonds (chains) in (for) Christ are manifest (well known) in all the palace (by the palace guard), and in all other places (the rest of places). And many (most) of the brethren in the Lord, waxing (becoming) confident by my bonds (chains), are much more bold to speak the word without fear.’ (Phil.113-14) 

Ah friends, what a strange, but rather efficient way to spread the gospel. But our God is full of works that we can’t understand. Now the listen to the scholars: 1:12. Things… have fallen out means “have occurred.” Paul tells the readers that his imprisonment has occurred for the purpose of furthering or spreading the gospel. 

The word rather suggests that the Philippians were anticipating bad news as a result of Paul’s captivity. He informs them rather to the contrary. In His wisdom and sovereignty God has deliberately designed His servant’s present circumstances, as undesirable as they may be, for the gospel’s benefit. 

Two positive results of Paul’s imprisonment are given in verses 13,14. (1) Caesar’s palace learned the gospel from him (v.13); and (2) many Roman Christians were stirred to preach the gospel during his bondage (v.14).’ 

And who says our God doesn’t move in mysterious ways eh? The Lord caused Paul to be imprisoned so he could have the close attention of the palace guards. If he had been preaching out on the street corner, he would never have had the undivided attention of such a large and influential audience. 

And even better yet, because of Bruh Paul’s captivity, the brethren outside got confident, found confidence in the Lord and began preaching the gospel too without fear. Now friends, those last two words -without fear – are very important, because they show the level of maturity and spiritual strength that Roman Christians got from the whole situation. 

Likewise my fellow believers, many of us might be in tight or tough circumstances and wondering why, but the Lord has obviously put us there for a purpose. So please, instead of crying and complaining, consider Bruh Paul’s attitude and look around and see if there be any you can minister to, for God might just have put you there for that very purpose. 

And most important of all; please, let’s all preach the gospel of Christ WITHOUT FEAR, for in the gospel itself, we have oodles of protection. Much LOVE!

…in whatever circumstances a Christian finds him or herself…they are expected to share the good news of Christ…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 February 2014 Ephesians 1:3

Ephesians 1:3.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

Oh Friends, oh Friends, our God is a great and most wonderful Deity! Please give Him praise and thanks, oodles and oodles of it, for He is most deserving of our thanks and praise!

And I say that, because as I walk down memory lane today, I note where in the past two weeks He’s unexpectedly brought so many people from my past into my present orbit. Thank You Lord! And from the very depths of my soul, again I say, Thank You!
 
It has certainly been interesting and overwhelming to say the least, for like every day, someone else just unexpectedly comes out of the woodwork. And that shouldn’t be so surprising since our God majors in the unexpected.
 
And talking about the unexpected, yesterday afternoon while hanging out at the Duchess’ friend’s bar with my Uncle Foster, who had earlier come from Trinidad to visit me, my cell phone rang.
 
When I answered it, I discovered that it was another old friend from school days, who was also in town. He now resides in New York, and I had seen him at Caribana in Toronto a few years ago, so the time span between contact wasn’t as great as with so many others. 
 
But while talking to him, I learned that since I last saw him, he had gone through several surgeries for some internal problems. And that was after having been through many more  before that. It’s good to see that he has that fighting, never say die, never give up attitude.
 
And it’s also nice to know that he gives the Bit some credit for helping him make it through some of the rough times, both in the hospital and at home. He says it helps him keep his faith strong, and not give in to self-pity and the desire to give up this painful earthly life.
 
I went to visit him this morning after church, and he does look strong, but he has to go back to Trinidad for some tests and other medical procedures tomorrow. Let’s pray that the Lord will bless him and cause everything to go all right. His name is Anthony Massiah, so please remember him in your prayers.
 
And that was about all the out of the ordinary memories I made yesterday, because after dropping my Uncle Foster home, we just came home and relaxed, watched the Leafs beat Ottawa in a high-spirited ice-hockey game, then went to bed, got up this morning and went to church.
 
On the church matter though my fellow believers, I was greatly disappointed to see the small number of people in the congregation. If you were to put everybody together, it might have taken up possibly one quarter of the church.
 
Now that certainly doesn’t speak well of the church’s health. But I’m not privy to their problems, so I can’t offer any positive critique and /or advice. I just know that the three times I’ve been there recently, the crowds were noticeably smaller than the two occasions on my last trip to Tobago, some fifteen months ago.
 
Ah Friends and fellow believers, we need to pray for the state of Christ’s church all over the world, because in many cases, for one reason or another, the numbers are sadly dwindling, and we definitely can’t allow that negative trend to continue. Through heartfelt prayer and seriously addressing the problems causing this fall away, we need to actively participate in the renewal of Christ’s earthly body, for it’s a godly trust given to us, to strengthen and grow it.
 
Unfortunately though, for whatever reasons, we’re falling down on the job. And how can we allow that to happen after reading our Bit eh? ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’
 
Yesterday we saw how many things, faithful blessings and benefits, those few words of Bruh Paul contained. And continuing on, we note even more blessings and benefits.
 
‘According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in LOVE: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (as sons) by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.’ (Eph.1:4-5)
 
Yes Friends, the Lord chose us to be His adopted children through Jesus, long before He even laid the foundations of the world! That means, even before time began He was totally interested in us, LOVING us, through His own will, not through anything we would or could do. He had set us apart, sanctified us, to be holy and blameless before Him, walking in LOVE.
 
Now here are a few interesting notes from the scholars. ‘1:4. The connecting thought linking verses 3 and 4 is this: Just as (According as) God has blessed believers with every spiritual blessing “in Christ” (v.3), so in like manner it was in (or by) him that he hath chosen us. God never intended to bless man apart from Christ. All God does for man, He does through His Son.’
 
And they continue: ‘1:4-5. The last two words of verse 4 (in LOVE) may well belong to verse 5; the link between verb forms in these two verses is expressed in this rendering: “He chose us…in that He LOVINGLY predestined us.” So the divine choice of verse 4 is further defined by the divine predestination of verse 5.
 
Predestinated means “marked out in advance,” “determined or appointed beforehand.” Prior to creation God appointed those who would believe unto (or, for) the adoption of children; that is, He appointed them to be His sons. This divine appointment was according to (because of) the good pleasure of his will; it was due not to anything good in ourselves, but due solely to His kindness. 
 
These verses stress the divine sovereignty in salvation. Verses 12 and 13, which mention our trust and belief in Christ, emphasize the human responsibility in the process.’ 
 
Yes my people, the Lord put a whole lot of thought and LOVE into His plan of creation, putting us believers first in it. We therefore owe Him a large debt of gratitude and thanks for all those wonderful benefits and blessings He’s currently showering down on us, and also has stored up in heavenly places, marked with our names.
 
So please, let’s endeavor to do a better job of living and working for Him than we’re presently doing nuh. Yuh know all He asks of us is just to try and follow in the footsteps of His Son, become more like our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. That’s not too much to ask, after all He’s done for us. Much LOVE!
 
…to know, know, know, Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him… 
 
P.S. Oh Friends, the wife just called me outside on the balcony to see a beautiful rainbow, after a light shower of rain. Mama Mia! It seems like I only see rainbows in Tobago. (smile) The last one I saw was coming over in the plane from Trinidad on my last visit. I’ll take it as the harbinger of good tidings. Much LOVE!