Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 June 2021 Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28.     ​Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Gather round friends, gather round, tis the day of the Lord! It’s an auspicious, a right royal occasion to give Him much thanks and praise for the awesome breath of life and the many other blessings He has so generously bestowed on us during our lifetime. I know we still can’t gather physically in large numbers, but that has not so far stopped us, and will never stop us from worshipping our wonderful God. In His omniscience, during this time of pandemic, He has conveniently made it possible for us to worship Him through technological means. And though something is lost in the translation (smile) it’s still better than not worshipping Him at all. 

Now, as we do each Sunday, we’ll begin worship with a song of praise and thanksgiving. And today’s song is that magnificent and most touching hymn titled ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus.’ Wow! And is it ever a hymn for these trying times! But before we get into it, let’s get a li’l info into its interesting history. According to the Hymnary.org website, the hymn was written by Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1819-1886), and Irish immigrant to Canada. 

‘Because his life was filled with grief and trials, Scriven often needed the solace of the Lord as described in his famous hymn. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, he enrolled in a military college to prepare for an army career. However, poor health forced him to give up that ambition. Soon after came a second blow—his fiancée died in a drowning accident on the eve of their wedding in 1844. Later that year he moved to Ontario, where he taught school in Woodstock and Brantford. His plans for marriage were dashed again when his new bride-to-be died after a short illness in 1855. 

Following this calamity Scriven seldom had a regular income, and he was forced to live in the homes of others. He also experienced mistrust from neighbors who did not appreciate his eccentricities or his work with the underprivileged. A member of the Plymouth Brethren, he tried to live according to the Sermon on the Mount as literally as possible, giving and sharing all he had and often doing menial tasks for the poor and physically disabled. Because Scriven suffered from depression, no one knew if his death by drowning in Rice Lake was suicide or an accident.’ 

No wonder such touching, encouraging and immortal words were able to come from the soul of that gentleman! Now let’s sing it at a middling tempo, with great gusto, truly acknowledging the wonderful friendship that Jesus provides for all who sincerely believe in Him. As one, harmonious, melodious earthly choir, let’s wake up heaven with our song of praise. 

‘What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer! – Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer! Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer! – 

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge– take it to the Lord in prayer! Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In his arms he’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there. What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!’ 

Oh my people, what indisputable words of wisdom! But unfortunately, so many of us refuse to put them into action. We foolishly refuse to accept the truth of the words of the hymn: ‘What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!’ Yes friends, that ability to take everything to our God in prayer is one of the greatest privileges of being a child of God, a believer in Jesus Christ! We won’t even talk about Jesus just yet, but we’ll go back to the Old Testament where from way back when, the Lord promised to hear our prayers. 

Listen to the prophet Isaiah on His behalf. ‘And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.’ (Is. 65:4) Now doesn’t that sound like an invitation for communication, a welcome to prayer? It certainly does! And the psalmist tells us quite clearly from Psalm 91- God is a refuge and a fortress – speaking on behalf of God: ‘Because he hath set his LOVE upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.’ (Ps. 91:14-16) 

Oh precious saints of Christ, what’s the purpose of claiming we know the Lord and not call on Him for help eh? None whatsoever! And when we get to the New Testament, Jesus Himself, our Lord and Saviour, our Deliverer from the bondage of sin, offered us this Great Invitation, the greatest that’s ever been offered: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) 

Listen friends, Jesus didn’t sacrifice His sinless life on the cross of Calvary for fun nuh. He was quite serious when He paid our sin debt in full, and that invitation above is proof that He wants us to come to Him and lay our burdens down at His feet. He wants to help us bear the heavy load that’s this earthly life, that’s what His death and resurrection was all about. However, if we don’t take our problems to Him, in prayer, the method of communication the Father decreed between God and man, Jesus can’t help us. 

And do we ever have loads of trials and temptations, especially in these times of unforeseen storms. As the hymn says, ‘we should never be discouraged,’ but how do we do that without the help of Jesus eh? It’s impossible. Likewise, when friends and family forsake and despise us, Jesus is the One to whom we should look to for solace! And again, way back in the Old Testament the Lord faithfully promised it. Hear Isaiah tell it nuh. ‘Can a woman forget her suckling (nursing) child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.’ (Is. 49:15) 

And that obviously led Bruh David to pen these immortal words of comfort and encouragement. ‘When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up (care for me).’ (Ps. 37:10) And as one commentator points out, Bruh David didn’t say ‘if’ but ‘when’ meaning that’s something he knew for a fact. So friends, I don’t know what else to say to get us to go to Jesus for whatever we need, in whatever situation we might find ourselves. He is the answer! The ONLY true One! Only He can fix our problems and bring true peace, solace and comfort to our burdened souls. 

But we have to take our concerns to Him in prayer, because that’s the only way He will generally fix them. Oh, He can fix them without us asking, but the Father prefers us to initiate the communication when our souls are troubled. So please, let’s wake up to the advantages and privileges we have as sincere believers in Christ Jesus nuh, instead of frivolously wasting them. Much LOVE!

…Jesus not only saves our souls for heaven…but also helps with our problems on earth…                                                                                    

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8               

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 August 2020 1 Peter 5:6.

1 Peter 5:6.     ​Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 

Happy Independence Day T&T! Congratulations on 58 years of sterling nationhood! (1962-2020) And in that time you have certainly made important contributions to all aspects of human life – been a beacon of hope and light in the Caribbean! We wish you many long years of success as an innovative, refreshing and enduring nation. 

Wonder how the celebrations going to go on today with the pandemic situation and the resultant lockdown? Oh not to worry, T&T is the best partying nation in the world. Nobody LOVES a party like we, and we going to find some innovative way to celebrate Independence Day. It surely won’t pass without some kind of celebration, regardless of what the law says. (smile) You can bet yuh bottom dollar on that! 

However, it’s Monday, the last day of August, and most of us are not concerned about celebrations, but rather about the start of a new work week, and possibly anxious about what this week in this year of calamity will bring. But as the Good Book tells us, when worries beset us, take them all to the Good Lord in prayer and He will ease the anxiety in our souls. 

Peter puts it thus: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.’ (1 Pet. 5:6-7) And since that’s gospel truth, let’s do it now nuh through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. So in confident, but humble voice, let’s come before God’s throne and empty our hearts of all the confusion and uncertainty residing there. 

All together now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive and standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

And yes friends, we have certainly sinned against our great God, fallen into wilful disobedience, and are now experiencing the consequences of that disobedience. As Jeremiah says in his lamentation over Israel’s adversity. ‘Wherefore doth (how can) a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try (examine) our ways, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. We have transgressed and have rebelled: thou hast not pardoned. Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted (pursued) us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied. Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.’ (Lam. 3:30-44) 

Oh my people, if the Lord could punish His chosen people for their wilful disobedience, why wouldn’t He do the same thing to us eh? Yes, He is indeed patient and long suffering, but even the Lord’s patience will run out at some time if His prize creation keeps going headlong down the path of evil and disobedience. But here’s why He is indeed a great God, the ONLY TRUE and LIVING GOD! 

Jeremiah himself said it earlier on: ‘For the Lord will not cast off forever. But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly (with delight), nor grieve the children of men. To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth, To turn aside the right of man (justice due) before the face of the most High, To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.’ (Lam. 3:31-36) 

Yes my brethren, our God is a merciful God, but He is also a holy and just Deity and to be true to His Word, He must cause justice to be done in the affairs of man. So if we have sinned and come short of His Word, then it’s expected that at some time we will suffer the negative consequences. But as He promised, if we repent and turn back to Him, He will indeed forgive us and heal our land. And without a doubt, right now our land is in dire need of healing, and the Lord God Jehovah is the ONLY ONE who can do it. 

So let’s wise up nuh, let’s show ourselves to be the wise and wonderful creation He wonderfully made and repent and joyfully receive Him back into our society, so that our children, and our children’s children will have a decent future to look forward to. That’s wisdom for the ages! Much LOVE!

…the wise way to do life…is to obey God and leave all the consequences to Him… (Dr. Charles Stanley) 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 July 2015 Proverbs 2:6

Proverbs 2:6.  For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Oh Friends, it’s Monday, and like summer has finally hit these parts! The last couple of days have been fairly warm and this week, Caribana week in T.O. is supposed to be sweltering. Thank God that the Pan Am games are now over, and the temporary HOV lanes on the highways which needed a special permit or three people in a vehicle to use them, will be once again opened for ordinary traffic. Now we can go back to our normal traffic congestion. (smile)

This should indeed be a good summer for tourism in Toronto, what with all the visitors for the games, and all those coming for Caribana, or rather to give it its official title, Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto. Steups! It’s all in the litigation over the use of the Caribana name. But I guarantee you, that as long as this festival goes on, it will always be called Caribana by the masses.

Anyway, despite all the games and the partying in the offing, the ordinary people still have to go to work this Monday morning, so to give us some encouragement, let’s sing a lusty and vigorous rendition of our Monday Morning Battle Hymn.

All together now: ‘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!’

Good going Friends! Our choir conductor Jesus was well pleased. But let’s see if we can also please Him by seriously considering the words of Cousin Sol in our Bit and writing them indelibly in our hearts minds and souls nuh. ‘For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh wisdom and understanding.’

Yes my people, that’s where true wisdom comes from; the Lord God Almighty!  And Cousin Sol continues: ‘He layeth up (stores up) sound wisdom for the righteous; he is a buckler (shield) to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgement (guards the paths of justice), and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness; and judgement (justice), and equity; yea, every good path.’ (Prov.2:7-9)

Yeh my brethren, only by honing in on the wisdom of Jehovah God, and not the wisdom of the world, can one truly understand things like righteousness, justice and equity. For He is the architect and creator of this great universe, the only source, the true fountainhead of all that pertains to it. And if we study the great and wonderful workings of man and nature, we will see that His knowledge and wisdom are both literally and figuratively out of this world. (smile)

That’s why James tells us: ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without reproach); and it shall be given him.’ (James 1:5)

However Friends, there is an important proviso to James’ words. ‘But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (not doubting). For he that wavereth (doubts) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ (James 1:6-8)

Ah Friends, words of indisputable truth! God will give us all the wisdom we desire if we come to Him in serious and sincere faith. And one of the best examples of that is in Cousin Sol’s own story. After Bruh David’s death, the Lord made him king over Israel, but he was still fairly young and had no real experience in governing, so when the Lord appeared to him one night in a dream and asked what he could give him,

Cousin Sol’s request was simply: ‘Now, O Lord God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude (as numerous as the dust of the earth). Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?

And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.’ (1 Chr.1:9-12)

No wonder my people that Cousin Sol was so wise and wealthy! That’s how our great God operates, even to this day! Whatever you come to Him for in faith and sincerity, once it falls under His will, He will most likely grant it in His time. But you have to believe, to see it all through your eyes of faith.

Now let’s go out into the evil world that surround us and fight the good fight for Jesus, sincerely asking for the wherewithal to successfully engage the enemy. For that my Friends, is the undisputed wisdom of heaven, and of God. Much LOVE!

…whatever our heart’s desire…be wise…and take it to the Lord in prayer…