Today’s Scrip-Bit   29 July 2022   1 Corinthains 13:11.

1 Corinthians 13:11.      When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

Well, it’s here at last…so let’s shout it out nuh: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday and the long Caribana weekend has begun!’ And this evening I’m going to attend the only function on the calendar that I do nowadays, that’s the Steelband competition. Yes friends, that’s what it’s finally come down to. (smile) As they so truthfully say, after one time is two. But the fact of the matter is that the ole fella can no longer handle the long walking and the pushing and shoving of the young people. 

In my time, we knew how to party, but these days that wisdom seems to have gone by the bye. And the costumes and music are not as nice as before. Like life, and so many other things nowadays, the standards have fallen and it all seems watered down now… at least in my opinion. (smile) So, since I can’t handle it physically and emotionally, I just keep myself to myself, and only check out the pan competition which is always a blast; you see people you haven’t seen in ages, plus you make new friends, and don’t forget the numerous arguments and controversies, especially over the judges’ decisions at the end. 

If you’ve ever been to a Steelband competition, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. (smile) And strangely enough, I find that one occasion satisfies my Caribana weekend. Once upon a time, if I didn’t get down to the Saturday parade early, I’d be rather unmannerly to those who kept me back. My family could certainly tell you about that. (smile) But thankfully, along with age comes that very important thing called reason. That reminds me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians that says it so wisely. ‘When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ (1 Cor. 13:11) 

Ah friends, that’s exactly what a lot of us need to do in these uncertain, disastrous and turbulent times; give up our childish behaviour and act like the adults we’re supposed to be. We certainly don’t need all the resentment, strife, evil-doing, back-biting and scandalous behaviour that has become so much a part of our current society. And those ungodly actions are not only running rampant in the outside world but unfortunately also in the church of Christ! Obviously, that’s not welcome behaviour in the body of Christ, but who’s going to change it eh? 

Only we, the supposed believers in and followers of Christ can do that. The problem though, is do we really want to change our unchristian ways? Some of us do, but others don’t. So what’s going to happen eh? Christ’s church obviously cannot be allowed to continue being as sinful and ungodly as the world. And the sad part is that a lot of this behaviour comes from the leaders not from the basic congregations. In fact, some leaders consciously promote that behaviour. It’s obvious that they are not obeying the words of Bruh Paul to Timothy: 

‘This is a true saying, If a man desire (aspires to) the office of a bishop (overseer), he desireth a good work (a noble task). A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant (temperate), sober (sober-minded), of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to (able to) teach. Not given to (addicted to) wine, no striker (not violent), not greedy of filthy lucre (for money); but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity (reverence); For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? (1 Tim. 3:1-5) 

Now that’s a very good question? If a man cannot run his own house in a godly manner, how then can he run Christ’s church properly eh? And the scholars tell us this about the Pastoral Office. ‘The pastor, who shepherds’ today’s church, also fulfills the New Testament role of elder and bishop (overseer), and is responsible to God for the spiritual welfare of the church (Acts 20:28). When Christ returns, He will judge and reward these pastors (elders) according to their faithfulness in leading the church to accomplish God’s will (1 Pet. 5:4).’ And I do hope that some of those leading Christ’s flock today would read that and understand it and change from their evil ways. 

But let’s look at some deeper explanations of the duties Bruh Paul associated with a godly leader. ‘Blameless means irreproachable, that is, impeccable in reputation. The husband of one wife, faithful to his wife. Vigilant means temperate. This speaks of spiritual sobriety; not intoxicated or controlled by fleshly passions and sensual appetites. To be sober is to be of sound mind; that is, not of frivolous disposition, but serious and possessing good judgement. Of good behaviour means orderly in life, habits, and work. One who is given to hospitality receives strangers warmly and treats guests generously. 

To be apt to teach is to be skillful in teaching Scripture. Not given to wine means not addicted to wine. No striker means not physically violent. Not greedy means not fond of dishonest gain. Patient means not quarrelsome, peaceable; that is does not argue over minor matters or always seeks to have his own way, but defers to the wishes of others when no cardinal doctrine or policy is sacrificed. Not covetous, literally, “not a lover of money.” His main priority is not the acquisition of money. Materialism ill befits one called above to care for the spiritual welfare of souls.’ 

And that’s the gospel truth! However, unfortunately many of our current leaders do display too many of the ungodly traits described above. Now, it must be stated that a lot is expected of them, and since they are mere men like us, they do have human drawbacks and frailties, and will have occasional lapses in godly behaviour, but the unfortunate truth is that too many of our leaders have poor leadership qualities and are thus leading Christ’s church astray, that’s why it’s in such bad shape today. 

But we cannot put all the blame and responsibility on our leaders, we the congregation also need to take some of it, for both allowing the leaders to do some of the ungodly stuff they do, and also for following them when we full well know that their actions are wrong and totally ungodly. And the only way for the church to get cleaned up is by both congregation and leaders deciding to clean it up. That’s seriously looking at themselves and doing the things they know that ought to be done. This will have to be an internal cleansing, coming to terms with our misdeeds and deciding to change our ways, with God’s help obviously. 

And there’s no better time to start than right now. So, let’s go to God in prayer, through our Friday Chant, laying our cards sincerely before Him. As one voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. 

And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And now that we’ve pleaded for divine help and made promises, let’s go out and keep those promises, otherwise we won’t receive that divine help. It’s as simple as that. Much LOVE!

…promises are not made to be broken…but to be kept with a sincere and honourable heart… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 August 2018 John 17:16.

John 17:16.   They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Ah friends, it’s a sad day when bodily aches and pains contrive and conspire to drive you out of your bed! But that’s what came against me this morning. I got up around 5.30 to go to the bathroom and found I could barely walk the few feet to it. And that’s after going to bed around two thirty in fairly good shape. Every joint was crying out in resistance. Then when I went back to bed I couldn’t find a comfortable position to get back to sleep. 

But with the Lord’s help I weathered it and did get some more spasmodic rest. However, the aches and pains in my back, both knees, both hips and both shoulders refused to go quietly into the sunrise, (smile) and I eventually got up somewhat earlier than I had planned. 

But brother, what an ordeal! And I’ve been taking the pain pills fairly regularly. So why this painful episode now eh? Steups! But yuh know what? The aches and pains won’t keep the ole fella down for long. He’ll rally and fight back. And with the Lord’s help we’ll win, because the Lord has promised that nothing that comes against us will conquer us. Glory be! 

And it’s Friday, Caribana Friday to boot, Toronto’s big day in the worldwide spotlight, so you know the workingman will be out and about blaring his song to all and sundry! ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday! Caribana Friday! A long weekend…and official time to play true leggo beast! 

Yuh going to see we out on the boulevard tomorrow in we pretty costume…with the music blasting…and we doing we thing, getting down and wining, showing off we bumbulum and having a rollicking good time! Oh people, oh people, is Caribana weekend, the summer soon done, time to get out and have some fun, and thank the Lord for Fridays and weekends, especially the long ones!’ 

Yeh mih breddren, we must give thanks for our days off from labour, but we don’t need to go that far out on the limb like the workingman, where the evil one can easily get a foothold in our affairs. But like Jeeves says, a modicum of circumspection is necessary. 

And it’s strange how life changes as one gets older. At one time Caribana was a big deal for me. Now I don’t even remember that it exists. That’s because I can’t handle all the walking and jammings again, as well as it has lost its flavour. It’s not as nice and authentic as it was before. 

I’m not even enthusiastic this year to go to the Steelband Competition, the only aspect I support these days. I haven’t even heard from my buddy Bas, who usually goes with me. But who knows what will happen. It’s still early times. And don’t tell me that I’m getting old and cold, because I’m not. (smile) 

Anyway, in response to the workingman’s song, let’s chant our more sedate and less frivolous Friday Chant. As one now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. 

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

Yes my people, in Jesus organization, we don’t behave like the world, that’s ruled by the prince of darkness behaves. As Jesus prayed to the Father on our behalf: ‘I have manifested (revealed) thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them (to) me; and they have kept thy word… I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine…

And now I am no more (longer) in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me, I have kept, and none of them is lost (destroyed), but the son of perdition (Judas Iscariot); that the scripture might be fulfilled. 

And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray NOT that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil (one). ‘They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them (set them apart) through thy truth: thy word is truth.’ (John 17:6, 9, 11-17) 

Oh friends, yuh see how important Jesus thought we were? He spent the whole of chapter 17, 26 verses praying for us. Even for the believers who’d come down through the ages (vs.20). He asked the Father not to take us out of the world, but to keep us filled with His joy and to set us apart from the world, so we don’t get too contaminated by it. 

Now we do have to be in the world, otherwise how would we bring the lost and suffering to Him eh? But we don’t have to be a part of the world, meaning doing the things the world does, or living the way it does. We’re special friends. And we need to know it and behave accordingly! 

As we said yesterday, we’re ambassadors of Christ, therefore we have to behave in a special way, a way that glorifies and exalts His Holy Name. And we definitely can’t do that by behaving the way the world behaves. So let’s up the ante nuh, let’s raise our level of excellence in doing Jesus’ work, otherwise we won’t be His fruitful and efficient ambassadors, like we’re supposed to be. Much LOVE!

…serving Jesus in this evil world… is not easy…but it sure is worthwhile…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 July 2015 Matthew 5:14‏

Matthew 5:14.    Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Ah Friends, after one time is really two yes! Yesterday this time I felt so light and airy and pain free that I could have flown away. Hn! Today I’d have to be a helicopter to lift off the ground, because I can hardly walk, at least not pain free.

Ah Lord eh! Our God does move in mysterious ways that we humans definitely can’t understand nuh. Yesterday evening I went into my bathroom and simply put my left foot up on the bathtub level, intending to go up there, but brother, by the time I placed the weight on it, a sudden and entirely unexpected pain ran through my left knee, and it’s been bugging me ever since.

No rhyme or reason whatsoever for it. And my knees have been the least of my worries for the longest while, merely the occasional pain, but nothing that lasts as long and as excruciating as this.

A while ago I went outside to greet the day and say good morning, it seems like another beautiful one, and as I stepped back inside, the pain unexpectedly ricocheted through my soul and sent my cries reverberating through the house. I doubt anybody heard though, because they are all still asleep.

Chuh Steups! And the sad part is that today is the Caribana Steelband Competition, the only Caribana event that I still go to regularly. But I can’t go if I can walk without excruciating pain, because it does entail some walking, and even worse, climbing steps to get a good view of the celebration.

And believe me, I won’t be a happy camper if I don’t get to go. But yuh know what Friends, we’re supposed to be people of faith, of strong faith, so I’m just going to put that faith to work. If the pain could rear up its ugly head so unexpectedly, the same way it can disappear just as suddenly. Oh glory to God!

Now let’s deal with more important matters, today being Friday…

‘Thank God for that yes!’ the shouts reverberate around me. ‘Oh TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday, Caribana Friday to boot, and a long weekend too. Mama Mia! It’s party time!’

Awright Friends, that’s all true, but let’s just remember that ole crook Beelzebub, waiting patiently in the weeds to jump and latch on to any faux pas or ungodly behaviour that we might unwisely engage in. So please be careful and keep our wits about us, this Caribana weekend, for there will be plenty of opportunity to fall prey to the enemy.

And to help us with that, let’s chant our Friday Chant with great gusto.  ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through.

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’

Yeh Friends, we have to remember what lies ahead after the partying is over, the daily grind and common task once again, and include it in our deliberations on how to spend the weekend. Oh, and don’t forget Granny’s wise advice: ‘Sonny boy, please, ah beg yuh, remember, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business.’ (smile)

Oh my people, we couldn’t get any better advice than that in such a small nutshell, in such few words. Now let’s go out and practice it along with the overall duty set out in our Bit by our Lord, Leader and Saviour Jesus Christ. ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’

Oh my fellow believers, it is indeed our bounden duty to bring the light of Jesus to this darkened and ungodly world. It is a truly big and difficult task, but only we who have seen the blessed light can accomplish it.

Luke in his gospel, when Jesus is talking about seeking the kingdom of God before anything else, quotes Him as saying: ‘Let your loins (waist) be girded about, and your lights burning.’ (Luke 12:35)

And the scholars explain it thus. ’12:35-48. Jesus recommends constant readiness in light of the approaching Judgement Day.’

’12:35. Loins be girded: One’s outer robe had to be tucked into a belt before working, running, doing battle, or the like. Jesus is saying, “Be alert!”

And that we certainly need to be my brethren, for we know not when our Lord will return in all His glory, but when he does return, He expects his people to be ready and waiting.

Jesus spells this out on several occasions. One of them is right there in Luke 12:36-40,when talking about the lord returning from a wedding and the servants waiting up to greet him. And ending with this admonishment. ‘Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.’ (Luke 12:40)

He also talks about having our lights burning and waiting patiently in the parable of the ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. (Matt.25:1-13) Five of them were wise and took extra oil for their lamps, just in case the bridegroom took longer than expected, while the other five were foolish and took no extra oil with them.

The long and short of the story is that the bridegroom came later than expected and the five foolish virgins who had to go and get oil, were eventually locked out of the party. This all has to do with the church being the bride of Christ and we being attendants at the wedding.

So please let’s all try to be wise and keep extra oil for our lamps, and keep them burning continuously, (1) so that others will be able to see the figurative light of Jesus shining through us, and thus want to know and surrender their miserable lives to Him.

And (2) whenever Jesus returns, we won’t be found wanting, we will be ready, with our lamps burning ever so brightly and waiting with bated breath and heavenly excitement to sit and sup with Him! Now that’s wisdom at its zenith my people! Much LOVE!

…watch therefore…for ye know neither the day nor the hour…wherein the Son of man cometh… (Matt.25:13)