Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 June 2020 1 Samuel 16:7b.

1 Samuel 16:7b.     ​for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
 

Monday, oh Monday…thou day of woe! Poor Monday, it’s been hated, resented and cursed down through the ages for something it has no control over; being the first day of our work week. But yuh know what, any other day, a day by any other name, which hailed the beginning of five days of back breaking labour (smile) would have been met with the same amount of disparagement and scorn that’s been heaped on Monday. Yeh friends, anything that disturbs our peaceful repose is disliked by our soft, lazy, think we’re entitled and inequitable society. 

No doubt many of us are glad that we don’t have to go to work in these dangerous and treacherous times, but then too, we won’t enjoy the fruits of our labour if we don’t labour. Remember Cousin Sol’s words of infinite wisdom: ‘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… this is the gift of God.’ (Eccl. 5:18; 19b) 

So to keep the motor of the 24-7 society continually running, as it needs must do in these modern times, somebody or bodies must go out and stoke it. We haven’t built a self-stoking engine yet. (smile) Even those fueled by batteries or electricity, have to be occasionally recharged. And sadly, a lot of us who are being hailed as front-line heroes, are not seeing comparative rewards in our paycheques, but instead are losing valuable family time, as well as on the job benefits. Some of our leaders are being two-faced. But what to do eh, it’s the nature of the political beast? 

I’ll tell you what we can do: we can pray for them; pray to our great and mighty God for them, as well as ourselves. It’s what the Lord is waiting for us to do, for He can’t answer our prayers if we don’t pray them. So as one strong voice, with sincere hearts, let’s call out to Him right now nuh, invoking our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, asking for His mercy and grace in the worldwide problems that we’re now facing. 

‘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 hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. And our anxieties have been recently deepened because some restrictions have been lifted in the lockdown, so more of us are going out to work now without any guarantees of safety. 

Then to complicate matters Father, suddenly, and unexpectedly, just like the virus, worldwide strife and protests have also struck us in this sad time of pandemic, and we don’t have a clue how to handle either situation properly. Mass confusion is currently prevailing in our world, and we desperately need your help to solve both problems, as You are the ONLY One with the power and insight to successfully handle them. 

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. 

Please show us how to successfully handle these scourges that are currently plaguing Your beautiful earth. Please help our leaders to wisely quell the strife and protests, and the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to the virus as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, or been injured in the strife, 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!’ 

Oh my people, if enough of us, that means plenty of us, sincerely pray along those lines, as well as repent of our evil ways and do better, our heavenly Father will indeed keep His promise. He did it several times for Israel, so why won’t He do it for us too eh? But remember, the Lord doesn’t only listen to what comes out of our mouths, for like the Pharisees and other leaders of Jesus’ day, what we speak, often doesn’t truly reflect what’s in our hearts. 

That’s why the Lord said to Samuel when He sent him to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the new king of Israel and the good-looking son Eliab stood before Him and Samuel figured he had to be the one. ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused (rejected ) him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’ (1 Sam. 16:7) 

Yes friends, until the Lord searches our hearts and sees true repentance and true willingness to change our evil ways, our societies will be forever troubled and in turmoil. Now the Lord saw our need and sacrificed His only Son Jesus Christ to help us, that whomsoever believed in Him would have everlasting life. So He’s done His part. The ball is now in our court. We need to accept Christ and receive His peace, joy and LOVE, and show the world that HE IS THE ANSWER…THE ONLY ANSWER…  Much LOVE!

…if the created is wise…he will turn to the Creator for help…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 September 2019 1 Samuel 16:7.

1 Samuel 16:7.    ​But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused (rejected) him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
 

Aloha people! It’s Monday, that means it’s time to rise and shine and join the battle lines where Jesus awaits us! Like any good Field General, He’s the first one at the front surveying and reconnoitering the situation, so He can draw up good battle plans to ensure our victory. Remember, without good, solid, wise plans victory is never possible. 

Consequently, we His soldiers also ought to have good, wise battle plans for our day. And the first one is to arise with enthusiasm, to greet the new day full of vim and vinegar, giving our Lord thanks and praise for allowing us to see another day! Oh, I know that’s not possible for all of us, but don’t worry, we have the secret ingredient to help us get up to par. We call it our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, a simple but most productive prayer, suitable for any ailment you have on a Monday morning. 

So let’s join together in saying it nuh, because we all need prayer regardless of how strong and faithful we are. As one 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!’ 

Yuh feel it friends? Yuh feel the power of the Holy Spirit just working its way through your soul and spirit? I know you do, because I feel it too! It never ceases to amaze me that whenever we pray that prayer, how my enthusiasm level just rises another notch, even when it’s already high! That’s the giddy answer (smile) of our great God to our genuine and sincere prayer. And believe me, I needed a boost this morning, because it seems I caught some bug on the plane. 

When you’re packed like sardines with so many people hacking and sneezing, with one lady right next to me, it’s not unusual to catch something. Brother! After church yesterday, where I was feeling lousy, with my throat aching, I came home, had breakfast and went straight to bed. Remember I don’t have my I-pad, so I couldn’t play any games first. (smile) And I spent the whole day there, just getting up for supper in the afternoon and going straight back. 

I also spent most of the night there, waking and sleeping, listening to the strong wind that kept blowing all day through the trees. Sometimes it sounded like rain, but when I opened my eyes and looked, it was still just the wind. Sometime in the early morning hours I did get up and say some prayers, not fully conscious though, but I know our wonderful God understood, because my heart was in the right place. 

Oh friends, I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful God we serve and worship because He doesn’t look at our outward actions but at the motives of our hearts, and if they are true and sincere, He does accept our faults and frailties. In any case, He already knows them better than us. And we see this plainly in the words of the Lord to Samuel when He sent him to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel. Samuel looked at Eliab, big and strong and handsome and thought ‘This must be the one‘ 

‘But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused (rejected) him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’  But that doesn’t mean that the Lord doesn’t like good-looking people, for it was said of Bruh David: ‘he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look at.’ (1 Kin.16:12) Meaning he had bright eyes and was also good-looking, and he must have been strong too from all those hours out in the wild. (smile) 

Oh my people, unfortunately we can only look on the outward actions of our fellow man, so we can’t tell what is truly in their hearts, but the Lord can. And we see the good motives and intentions of our hearts played out quite plainly in Bruh David. Although he made many mistakes, and the Lord did punish him for them, He never left him, because Bruh David never left Him either. He always stuck to the God of His Fathers. 

Note too, the prayer of Cousin Sol, when the Lord asked him what he wanted. ‘Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people. And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon has asked this thing.’ (1 Kin.3:9-10) ‘And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore.’ (1 Kin.4:29) 

Yes friends, most of what we ask for, if it falls within the Father’s will and our hearts are true, we will get them. But note when Cousin Sol got old and turned to the gods of his many wives, how the Lord blanked him. ‘And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel which had appeared unto him twice. And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.’ (1 Kin.11:9-10) 

Therefore the Lord told Cousin Sol he would take away the kingdom from him, but not in his days, but in his son’s. And why was the Lord so generous? ‘For David thy father’s sake…for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.’ (1 Kin.11:12b,13c) Yuh see mih people, though Bruh David did a whole lot of wrong, his heart never strayed from his God, and that eventually made him a measuring stick for faithfulness in the Old Testament. 

Are we faithful, can the Lord use us as a measuring stick for others today? Possibly not, but if we keep striving to be faithful and keep doing our best, one day the Lord might even deign to consider us His friend and a man after His own heart, like He said of Bruh David. I can think of no higher accolade that our great God can pay us. Much LOVE!

…the motives of our heart…must be right…when we come to the Lord in prayer…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 February 2019 1 Samuel 16:7.

1 Samuel 16:7.   ​But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
 

And after the long weekend, I do hope that those of you who have to go to work today will make it without too many problems – read, hangovers, tiredness etc. (smile) Well my trusty desktop seems to be working decently again…Praise the Lord! 

Yes, I know it’s old and out of fashion and all that, but it’s like the old saying, new broom sweep clean, but old broom know the corners! And I’m just more familiar with my desktop than my laptop. The former just knows what I want to do and where I want go, especially when it comes to writing the Bit. (smile) 

Now here’s an interesting question for us from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) from his Hour of Power Devotional. I don’t know if I’ve ever posed it before, but I was led to do so today. And the question is ‘Are You Happy?’ I guess though we should pose it as being joyful, since happiness is based more on our circumstances than our beliefs. 

You can read it any which way you want, but this is how Gramps Schuller put it, and it does ask a very good question which most of us should be asking ourselves. Listen up: ‘Happiness – that deep inner strength that is made up of courage, faith, hope, and peace. Mix them together, and you have happiness. Happiness – the courage to hang on in the face of severe adversity! 

Happiness – the faith that God will have the last word, and it will be good! Happiness – the hope that even though you can only see the shadow, someday the clouds will clear away and the sun will shine again! Happiness – the quiet sense of self-esteem that comes when you know you have done your best. 

Happiness – the assurance that you have been merciful and kind to enemy and friend alike. Happiness – the quiet assurance that God will be merciful and kind to you, too. Happiness – the beautiful belief that this life, no matter how difficult it may be, is not your final destination.’ 

Yes friends, if we can answer yes to all of them, then we are giants of our faith! But I doubt that most of us can answer all those questions in the affirmative. The important thing though is that we can definitely answer ‘yes’ to some, and that we are working courageously and sincerely on the others. 

Our God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, because He knows that He created us as imperfect beings, but He does insist that we try to come up as high as possible. That’s why He looks at the secret motives of our hearts rather than our outward actions to judge our sincerity. And the Lord made that quite clear long time ago, when He sent Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the new king of Israel. 

 When Samuel saw Eliab looking big and strapping and king-like, He said this must be the one. ‘But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’ 

There we have it friends, right from the Lord’s mouth. So I don’t know why so many of us still try to fool the Lord with wonderful outward actions when our hearts are dark and black with unresolved, unrepented sin! We can fool our fellow man a lot of the time, but we can’t fool God at any time because He looks at the true story that’s hidden deep inside our sinful hearts! 

That’s why the Lord chose Bruh David to be the king over his brothers; He knew that his heart was right, as right as a human heart could be, and why, in spite of all Bruh David’s mistakes He never set him adrift, though he certainly paid for his failures.

And sadly, that’s what happening to too many of us believers today; our hearts aren’t really right with God. We put on a great Christian show on the outside, but on the inside the devil rules our spirit. 

As Jeremiah so famously said on the Lord’s behalf: ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (incurably sick): who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try (test) the reins (mind), even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.’ (Jer.17:9-10) I think that’s as clear as it can get. 

But the scholars offer this explanation: ‘17:9-10. The heart (cf. Prov.4:23) means man’s innermost being. The bent of man’s natural disposition, apart from God’s redeeming grace, is described as deceitful (lit. crooked) and desperately wicked (incurably sick).

Therefore, man cannot trust his own heart but must leave all to God who alone knows the heart and judges all men fairly. Only a person with a redeemed heart can live in proper fellowship with God (Job 11:13; 1 John 3:18-24).’ 

Please take a moment and check out those two scriptures my fellow believers, for they get right to the heart of the matter! (smile) And I’ll throw in this langniappe (li’l extra) for good measure. (smile)

Listen to Cousin Sol: ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.’ (Prov.4:23) Yes friends, the heart is the figurative seat of our intellect and that in turn controls our minds. We therefore need to keep tight control of our minds, because that’s where all of the battles are fought. 

And having said all that, let’s go home declaring (right ho) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the entire world know who and whose we are. In full voice with sincere hearts and a strong sense of purpose:

‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ 

And if our hearts are right, then let’s go out and action those statements, as Jesus desires of us. Much LOVE!

…whatever captures the mind…captures the man…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 December 2017 1 Samuel 16:7.

1 Samuel 16:7.   Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused (rejected) him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Eight days friends, eight long days to Christmas Day! And can you imagine the loud voices raised in glorious  song, in praise and worship all over the world as that day draws nigh, and we gather in the Lord’s house this and next Sunday to fellowship with joy and gladness! And when you add heaven’s rejoicing with their own songs of praise and worship, what a joyful cacophony of harmonious singing there will be in the universe! (smile) 

So let’s not waste any time in joining that awesome choir of celebration, let’s declare our own joy by offering up our rendition of the old but much beloved hymn, ‘Hark the herald angels sing,’ written by Charles Wesley in the early 18th century. With much pomp and pride and heartfelt sincerity, let’s open up our mouths, and with sacrificial praise let the world know how glad and grateful we are for Jesus’ birth.  

In perfect harmony now: ‘Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With th’angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” (Refrain: Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”) Christ, by highest Heav’n adored; Christ the everlasting Lord; Late in time, behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail th’incarnate Deity, Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel. (Refrain) 

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die; Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth. (Refrain) Come, Desire of nations, come, Fix in us Thy humble home; Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed, Bruise in us the serpent’s head. Now display Thy saving pow’r, Ruined nature now restore; Now in mystic union join Thine to ours, and ours to Thine. (Refrain) 

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface, Stamp Thine image in its place: Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy LOVE. Let us Thee, though lost, regain, Thee, the Life, the inner man: Oh, to all Thyself impart, Formed in each believing heart. (Refrain).’

Ah friends, how beautiful it is to give thanks and praise to our heavenly Father! Nothing moves our heart like that. And it also moves the Father’s heart when He sees the outpouring of real LOVE from the very depths of our hearts towards Him, not just us spouting inane platitudes to try and win His attention. That’s why it’s ever so important to have right motives in our hearts at all times my brethren. 

Remember what the Lord said to Samuel in our Bit when He sent him to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king of Israel. ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused (rejected) him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’ 

Yes my fellow believers, we can carry on with all sorts of righteousness and holiness in public, like the Pharisees did, but if our heart isn’t right, then the Lord will simply ignore us. And unfortunately, in this current version of our society, outward appearance is a very big factor in how we react to and treat each other. That’s why there are so many outwardly good-looking ungodly, incompetent, simple-minded and evil people in our world today. Oh we can certainly put on a good outward show, be kind and generous and all that, but when the Lord checks us out and realizes that we’re only doing it just for our personal benefit, He’s simply going to cut us off at the knees. 

And a very good example of that is Jesus’ position on the offering of a poor widow and that of the rich folks. ‘And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites (small copper coins), which make a farthing.  And he (Jesus) called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance (surplus); but she of her want (out of her poverty) did cast in all that she had, even all her living (her whole livelihood).’ (Mark 12:42-44) 

Yeh friends, in the Lord’s eyes, it’s not always about how much you give, but more often what sacrifice you make to give whatever it is. If we have plenty, we can always give plenty. But it’s when we don’t have plenty, then we see the true nature of our hearts. As the scholars say: ‘12:43-44. God does not measure giving by conventional human standards.’ And that’s gospel truth! 

Thus friends, it’s ever so important for us have the kind of heart that the Lord approves of, and the best way to get that is by going to Him in sincere prayer and asking for His help, like Bruh David did at the end of Psalm 139 – The everlasting presence and power of God. He humbly pleads: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart: try (test) me, and know my (anxious) thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ (Ps.139:23-24)

Yes my people, that’s the best way to acquire a right heart…go directly to the Father! Much LOVE!

…a man whose heart is not right…will not find favour with the Lord…