Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 September 2022 John 10:11.

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

So friends, another day has dawned, one we call Wednesday, and we’re still around – no mention of us in the obits – and for that we give much thanks and praise! That’s why we are just bursting with vim and vigour to do the Lord’s work in an excellent and diligently manner, so that His name can be exalted and glorified in all the earth! And all God’s children said a loud and grateful: ‘Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy to the unworthy children of men! Amen!’ 

Yes friends, we’re not worthy, do not deserve the Lord’s blessings and LOVING-kindness, but He gives it to us anyway, because He LOVES us. He created us for communion and fellowship with Him, and though, down through the ages, we’ve turned away from him, been disobedient and prideful, He still LOVES us with a passion that can never be replicated, and desires that we all come home to Him, so that we can spend eternity in His amazing presence. 

Oh, I know that the idea of God’s unconditional and undying LOVE for us His disobedient and unfaithful children can sound like a fairy tale, but it’s the gospel truth. Our God has no choice but to LOVE us since His greatest attribute is LOVE! And it’s not just a talk of LOVE like so many of us do, but He’s shown that awesome LOVE by actually sending His Son Jesus Christ in the flesh, as a man, like other men, to die on the cross of Calvary so that our sins could be forgiven, and we could be reconciled back to His LOVING arms and tender mercies. 

Now why wouldn’t we accept such amazing kindness eh? I really don’t know. Perhaps, because we’re just foolish, selfish, prideful and filled with a false sense of our own importance. But please understand that whatever is keeping us away from accepting Almighty God as our heavenly Father and His awesome Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Saviour, consists of nothing but terrible lies and diabolical deceit. And if you knew and understood these true and faithful words of Jesus, the whole situation would suddenly become clear to you. 

Listen as He explains. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and he shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to (except to) steal, and kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:7-11) 

And that’s exactly what He did friends; sacrificed His sinless life, bore all the weight of our sins on His shoulders, so that we could be imbued with His righteousness! Now, does an ordinary or not caring man do something as radical and emotional as that? Obviously not! There has to be a very good reason for such unselfish and redeeming behaviour. 

And Jesus’ reason was to open the door to his sheepcote so that sinners like you and I could enter in and find life, life abundant and eternal, protection and good pasture on which to feed and grow in all goodness and honour to the glory of God the Father, who was the originator of the whole process, because of His great LOVE and compassion for us, not wanting to lose even one creation to the enemy. 

Wow! It all comes right back, full circle to the Father’s unexplainable grace and mercy towards us, His sinful, disobedient children. And if you’re a parent, you ought to understand that apparent contradiction, because ofttimes our children go astray, their decisions and behaviour anger and disappoint us, but we don’t throw them away, simply put them out – at least not the first few times. (smile) We make an effort to turn them around to the right way of thinking and behaving, so that they don’t get into deeper waters, into greater trouble. 

Now that’s exactly what our heavenly Father is trying to do; keep us away from the lies and deceits of Satan, who doesn’t LOVE us one iota, but only wants to get our souls for revenge against God, for kicking him out of heaven when he foolishly tried to overthrow Him. How foolish can one be eh? How can the created overthrow the Creator eh? But you know what, we’ve listened to so many of Satan’s lies that we now believe like he did, that it’s possible to remove Almighty God, the Creator of the universe and all therein, from His creation! What fallacy, what foolishness! 

My fellow believers, if we believe those fairy tales, then just like Satan we will suffer the ignominy, the humiliation and great disappointment of never entering the pearly gates of heaven, but being entrapped forever in the ungodly fires of hell, with his satanic majesty, suffering whatever retribution he suffers. 

And what’s truly wonderful about our great God is that He never puts us out or turns us away even when we are going down into the sorry pits of hellfire and damnation! No! Instead, that’s when He makes His most valiant effort to take us up out of the deadly mire in which Satan has us engulfed. As the true saying goes: ‘when we are at our lowest, that’s when God is at His best!’ Glory be my people! 

And just to show how sincere and desperate the Lord is for sinners to come back to Him, listen to this synopsis of three parable Jesus told when the Pharisees criticized Him for eating with sinners. Those were the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. In each case, He said the owners of that which was lost left the rest of what they had; sheep, coins and sons, and went searching diligently, high and low until they found what was missing. And they rejoiced greatly with their neighbours over the finding of what and who were lost. (Luke 15:1-32) 

Mama oh Mama! And here’s the great reason behind those parables, as Jesus explains: ‘I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just (upright) persons, which need no repentance.’ (Luke 15:7) Remember Jesus came to save the lost, the sick, those in bondage to sin, to bring light to those living in darkness, not for the upright who need no saving. That means the Lord is on our side, and He’s done and still doing His best to bring us onside, but He won’t do it against our will. That’s why He gave us free will, so we could make the choice between life and death. 

And for those of us who have already chosen life, let’s go home declaring…chuh man!!! I spelt it right in my mind, but my fingers let me down. (smile) But be that as it may, let’s go home declaring (yayyy!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. 

Altogether now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Yes my brethren, that’s wisdom in spades! And just a li’l extra encouragement; if we endure right to the very end, then that future will be even more glorious than we can ever ask for or imagine. So please let that strengthen our resolve to live for Jesus to the very end! Much LOVE!

…choosing heaven over hell…is what we call a no brainer… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 November 2020 John 10:11.

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

Oh friends, the Lord’s Day has rolled around once again, but sadly, this time His house, His sanctuary is desolate because of the Coronavirus lockdown. Thankfully though, that doesn’t mean He can’t bless us and make His face to shine upon us, because we’ll still be gathering to sing and praise and worship Him, though through virtual means, through the wonders of technology. 

And because of all the strife, confusion, upheaval and discontent that’s currently running rampant in our world, I decided that we needed a real thankful and joyful song to open our worship today, something to lift our spirits and remind us of our God’s goodness and LOVING-kindness. And I’m sure you’ll all agree that there could not be a better song than this one to do it. I’m talking about ‘Oh Happy Day!’ 

Yes mih people, up on point today is that 1967 gospel music arrangement by the Edwin Hawkins Singers of the 18thcentury hymn written by clergyman Philip Doddridge, which in the intervening years has certainly become a gospel music standard. Just check out YouTube and you’ll see the many different versions. And today we’re really going to get into it, giving it the full gospel treatment, with lots of hand clapping, the music rich and soulful and scintillating, with the tambourines jangling and the call and answer response right up front, for that’s what really lends the song its verve and chutzpah. (smile) 

So altogether now, in full voice, letting heaven know that we’re serious and sincere: ‘Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) Oh, when He washed (When Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) (Repeat) 

He taught me how (He taught me how) To watch and fight and pray Watch and pray And live rejoicing every day Every day Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) Oh, when He washed (When Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) 

He taught me how (He taught me how) To watch and fight and pray Watch and pray And live rejoicing every day (Good God) Every day Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, it’s a happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, Lord (Oh, happy day) Mmm, good God (Oh, happy day) Oh yeah (Oh, happy day) Mmm, oh (Oh, happy day).’ 

Yes mih bredrin, that was an awesome version! Heaven had no doubt that we were sincere! And this time, Jesus couldn’t just sit smiling shyly by the Father’s side…how could He when all heaven was dancing, singing and clapping too eh…including the Father? Jesus had to get up and do a li’l two step to acknowledge the praise and worship. And believe me precious people, Jesus deserves all of that adoration and reverence for the willing sacrifice; crucifixion on the old rugged cross at Calvary, that He made on our behalf! 

Wow! What a day it truly was when He washed our sins away, when He paid the Father’s steep price to cleanse and save us from hellfire and damnation! It was indeed the happiest day that mankind had ever experienced, and the best gift ever given to us after the Lord breathed His breath of life into our forefather Adam’s nostrils! As Jesus so rightly said of Himself: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And that’s exactly what He did; gave His life for us on the cross, so that we could be reconciled to the Father and live…live forever! Glory be people! 

How amazing and sacrificial is that eh! And hear Him later on nuh: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck (snatch) them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck (snatch) them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.’ (John 10:27-30) Mama Mia! What beautiful words of reassurance? 

And the scholars express it thus: ‘10:27-29. Never perish: These verses declare the assurance that all believers will be utterly safe from any creature that might wish to destroy them.’ Can any other faith sincerely promise that? Absolutely not! And what’s so great about Jesus is not that He just washed our sins away, but He also taught us to how to watch and fight and pray! Glory Hallelujah! What a giant He is! 

And to add to all that, He taught us how to live rejoicing every day too! So why wouldn’t we proud of Him eh? And revere and adore and worship Him; as well as call Him Lord and Saviour? No reason whatsoever to do otherwise my fellow saints in Christ! 

But unfortunately I have to muddy the waters here, cause not all of His followers walk the talk that they talk. Too many of us don’t watch and fight and pray, nor live rejoicing every day, although our sins have been washed away and we’ve been guaranteed eternal life. Now isn’t that a crying shame, because it just makes Jesus’ sacrifice of no account if we keep on living that joyless, ungodly life. Remember what He also said: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) That means we’re supposed to enjoy our earthly lives if we’re true believers, not live downtrodden and dismal existences. 

Oh my people, heaven begins here on earth if you’re a follower of Jesus, and we ought to be the happiest and most joyful group of people on the planet because of all that He’s done and promised to do in the future. So let’s get with the programme nuh, let’s change our attitudes, lift our heads and give God the glory through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for that’s why He sacrificed His sinless life! Much LOVE!

…if you’re a true believer…then you ought to be joyful…for the joy of the Lord is your strength… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 October 2020 Isaiah 40:11.

Isaiah 40:11.     ​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.

What’s happening here eh friends? Is this a pattern developing? Yeh, I’m talking about the rain falling in the early morning in my area, waking up to a wet, gloomy dark morning, but then by midday, it’s become bright and sunshiny! It’s happened the past two days, today is also wet and gloomy, so who knows what will happen later eh. How did the ole people characterize stuff like that? If I remember it right; once is an accident, twice is a mistake, but three times is a blooming habit! 

Chuh! I like the rain, but I can’t take this topsy turvy weather, where we not sure whether we coming or going. I wish the weather could straighten out its act, make up its mind as what it really wants to do. That is what I wish! And that’s all I have to say. (smile) 

Now let’s see what Ruth Harms Calking has to say from our One Year Book of Bible Promises. And today she’s saying something I believe many of us ought to do; in fact our whole world ought to do it. The title of today’s poem is ‘I keep Running Back to You.’ Wow! How appropriate is that for our current tough times eh! 

Please pray with me. ‘You know how it is with me, Lord. So often I mess up my days. I judge harshly I am critical and obstinate I waste time and energy I blame others for my failure. There are people I try to avoid And tasks I try to evade And when I can’t have my own way I sulk in my own little corner. Lord, I even turn my back on You To escape Your penetrating gaze? 

Then finally I get fed up with myself. The intolerable loneliness frightens me And I can no longer endure my shame. It always happens, Lord – I keep running back to You! Where else can I go? Who else understands me so well Or forgives me so totally? Who else can save me from foolish pride? No one, Lord, but You. so thank You for accepting me For LOVING me For always welcoming me. I just can’t help it, Lord I keep running back to You!’ 

But that my brethren, is indeed the wise and sensible thing to do. When we get in our own way, and screw up our lives, so foolishly thinking that we know best and can do life on our own, there usually comes, or should come a prophetic moment when we realize that God, the Creator of the universe, is the ONLY ONE to whom we can turn to for trusting and faithful help. 

And oh my people, how I do wish, hope and pray, that our world would see, that right now we’re in one of those prophetic times when the serious trouble we’re facing, the onerous burdens we’re bearing, can only be lightened, be solved, by running back to Almighty God from whom we have recently turned away in droves, even to the rash and foolish effort to drive him out of our society. But friends, that’s the most foolish thing we could ever think of or try to do. God WILL NEVER allow Himself to be driven out of our society! 

And until we learn that immortal wisdom, we’ll just keep on spinning our wheels and going nowhere, living in abominable sin, burdened by calamity and disaster, just like we are right now. But yuh know what happens when we run back to Him, return to His fold? Hear Isaiah tell it like it truly is, in the promise from our poem: ‘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. 40:11) 

Yes friends, that’s what happens when we turn to Almighty God for help and succour! So why don’t we eh? And it’s not like we don’t have true examples of it. The Israelites turned back to the God of their forefathers how many times after being disobedient and rebellious, then consequently finding themselves between a rock and a hard place. And He graciously took them back. So why can’t we be wise enough to do it eh, especially when nothing else seems to be working for us? 

Because we’re blooming stubborn and hard-headed, full of foolish pride, not willing to admit that we could be wrong. But remember what goeth before a fall, before destruction: pride! And right now our foolish pride is causing us to fall. Just look at how divisive and disunited our society has become nuh. We don’t agree on much of anything, so how can we expect to function successfully eh? 

Friends, it’s only when a society is more united than divided can it ever hope to prosper and succeed. And believe me, we seem to be disagreeing, fighting, hating, and living ungodly more and more everyday. It’s obvious we’re headed in the wrong direction. Anyway, since we’re already late (smile) and running out of space too, let’s check out a few important scriptures on the subject. 

First up are these immortal words from the prophet Ezekiel, talking about the Lord caring for His flock. ‘Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle (sheep and sheep). And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.’ (Ezek. 34:22-24) 

And if you’re one of those who foolishly believe that the Old Testament writings are dead and buried, then listen to that prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament. The immortal words of Jesus. ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11, 14-15) Yes friends, Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd; He laid down His life for us, and promised to protect us if we stay in His fold. But that’s a decision each individual has to make…and the sooner the better. Nuff said! 

But for those of us who have already made the wise decision – being in Jesus’ fold, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Thursday Blessings, which our Saviour has so generously blessed us with, so that we can do His earthly work. All together 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 having declared all those good blessings, it’s now our bounden duty to go out and share them just as generously with others who need what Christ has to offer. Much LOVE!

…the Lord is my shepherd…I shall not want…that’s the gospel truth… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 April 2015 Matthew 9:36‏‏

Matthew 9:36. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted (were weary), and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Ah Friends, it’s Friday, and it’s supposed to be another glorious day in my neck of the woods, so you can imagine the craziness that’s going to take place this weekend if the weather stays fairly warm. All the barbecues and everything that smacks of summer will be out in full swing.

You can already hear the working populace crying out with joy. ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday yes, and the weekend’s up to bat! The ribs will be a braising and the beer a flowing! The talk will be plentiful and the laughter hearty and loud! Thank God at last for a warm weekend yes!’

Ah mih breddren, those of you down south, who have warm weather and plentiful sunshine all year round, wouldn’t understand what a nice, warm weekend means to us northerners nuh. But most aspects of our lives are built around the weather. In winter we do certain things because it’s too cold outside. Then in spring and summer we do other things because it’s warm out side.

Anyway, I believe that this is the first truly warm weekend of the year, so for sure, a lot of outside activities will be on the agenda. But just to help us not get too carried away and keep the right perspective, let’s chant our Friday Chant. And I surely don’t have to tell us with much enthusiasm and energy, because those will come naturally at this time of year. (smile)

So let’s chant: ‘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, a dash of moderation and circumspection are definitely needed as we get into this weekend. Otherwise we’re going to allow the enemy to get a foothold in our souls, for he is out there ravenous and deceitful as ever, looking for any way to cause us to fall.

And that is exactly what was happening in Jesus’ time, when our Bit was written. ‘But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted (were weary), and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.’

Yeh Friends, Jesus is still moved with compassion today because so many sheep are still going astray, being lost in this sinful world without any proper guidance. He wants to be, longs to be their guide and shepherd, that’s His bounden duty and purpose.

That’s why He declared during His earthly sojourn: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And that’s exactly what He did later on Friends; He sacrificed His holy and sinless life for the lost and directionless sons of man. How wonderful!

Then Jesus went on to further explain: ‘But he that is a hireling (hired man), and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling (hired hand) fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep.’ (John 10:12-13)

And that’s a proven fact my brethren, as the scholars remind us. ’10:12. A hireling  (a servant for pay) will flee in time of personal danger, because he is working for money, and neither owns nor LOVES the sheep.’

But thankfully, Jesus is ever so different! And He proudly proclaims it: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” (John 10:14)

Oh Friends, the billion dollar questions here are (1) does Jesus know you as a sheep of His flock, and (2) do you know Him as your good shepherd? I certainly do hope so, for our very lives, both earthly and eternal depend very much on those distinctions.

And Jesus continues with His monologue on the shepherd and the sheep. ‘As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.

Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:15-18) 

Oh Friends what a beautiful passage of scripture. It says so much in those few words. Jesus is about to lay down His life for the sheep of His flock, and He is so obedient to the Father’s will, that the Father has no choice but to LOVE Him. Plus He’s going to bring another flock, the Gentiles into the equation, and make it all ONE big flock, with ONE shepherd. How glorious a promise!

And as the scholars say: ‘10:17-18. Jesus does more than predict His crucifixion and resurrection, He also shows that He has the power to lay down His life and take it again, once more asserting His deity.’

And sadly my people, that has been a major stumbling block for mankind, right from Jesus’ first days on earth, up to the present time. Men have doubted His deity from day one, and continue to do so, sadly to their own detriment. But the smart few, like us, who have embraced Him in all the splendour and power of His deity are laughing all the way to the bank; figuratively of course. (smile)

On second thought, heaven might have been a better comparison. (smile) Anyway Friends, let’s not be proud and pompous at being a chosen member of Jesus’ flock, for that has never been His intention.

Let’s do like Him, have compassion for those who are still lost, and try our very best to encourage them to come to Him, to become members of His flock too, for that’s what He desires of us. Much LOVE!

…oh what a joy, pleasure and privilege it is…to be a member Jesus’ one, worldwide flock…nothing else can compare to it…