Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 February 2020 Jeremiah 29:13.

Jeremiah 29:13.    ​And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
 
Greetings my brethren on this beautiful Thursday after Ash Wednesday. Yesterday I was so excited to get the Bit out early that I even forgot that it was Ash Wednesday. (smile) And strangely enough Ash Wednesday is a holiday in J.A. It’s the only place I know of that celebrates it as a holiday…and celebrate it they do. 

Now Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent; a time in our spiritual lives when we become somewhat ascetic, that means becoming a li’l less self-indulgent and more prayerful, abstaining from some things of the flesh, with fasting and prayer becoming more important in our everyday lives. The forty days of the Lenten season correspond to the forty days our Lord and Saviour spent fasting in the wilderness after He was baptized and before He effectively began His earthly ministry. 

In this time we’re expected to seriously think about our faith, and what it really means to us, how we can improve it and thus get a deeper and better understanding of our great and wonderful God, and thus develop an even better relationship with Him, because that’s what He wants; a strong and beautiful relationship with His children, sinful and ignorant though we may be. (smile) 

But friends, that’s the amazing kind of God we serve and worship, regardless of our faults and mistakes, His everlasting goal is for us to come into a sincere and prosperous relationship with Him, for He is our Father, and we are His children. And just like we earthly parents desire to have good relationships with our children, in the same manner our heavenly Father desires to have great relationships with His earthly children.  

And our God is so wonderful my fellow believers, that having caused Israel to be in bondage in Babylon for their disgraceful disobedience, He promised that they would return to their homeland after a period of seventy years… Oh, let the Good Book tell us the story, it can do it better than I can. (smile) ‘For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good work toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you an expected end (a future and a hope). Then you shall call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto (listen to) you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.’ (Jer. 29:10-13) 

Yes friends, that’s what our God desires of us, to seek Him with our whole hearts, with every fibre of our mortal being. And when we do that, then we will find Him, ready, willing and able to hear and respond positively. He doesn’t just require lip-service, but true, heartfelt, diligent seeking of Him. What yuh think Jesus did in the wilderness for those forty days eh, beside not eat eh? 

PRAY! That’s what He did, seeking guidance and understanding from His heavenly Father so that He could do His earthly work with diligence and excellence. That’s why in this Lenten season we also ought to seek our heavenly Father’s face even more than usual, to get right with Him, to get His plans for our lives, how He wants us to go. 

Remember He says He has a plan for each and every one of us, not to bring us down, but to build us up, to give us a future filled with hope and good things. But we need to seek Him. I don’t know how to get that most important fact home to us nuh my people, but it’s simple logic; if we don’t diligently look for Him, we won’t find Him. 

And without Him in our lives we’re absolutely nothing! Jesus said it quite plainly when He spoke about Him being the vine and we the branches. ‘He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) It could not be said any plainer than that friends. 

And note too that when the hypocrite Pharisee lawyer tried to tie up Jesus by asking which is the great commandment? ‘Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.’ (Matt. 22:37-38) And Jesus was only repeating the words that Moses had told the Israelites long before when they came out of bondage in Egypt. (Deut. 6:5) 

And nothing has changed since then. That is still the first and great commandment. And that’s also why Jesus so strongly advised us to: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) Oh my people, running down the foolish things of the world that corrupt our souls and don’t last for any length of time, but rust and depreciate, is not the wisdom of God, but of the world. 

And moreover, Jesus said that if we seriously and sincerely follow the Father, then He will give us all those worldly things that we do need. Bruh David said it too in such precise and wonderful terms. ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.’ (Ps.23:1) And Bruh Paul was also very sure when he declared to the Philippians: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) 

I don’t know what else to say nuh friends except to let us go home now declaring (yeah!) our Thursday Blessings, whereby the Lord has provided for our needs in His everlasting faithfulness. So altogether now, let’s declare those blessings with strong voice and sincere hearts. ‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

Now please remember that those blessings are not for us to selfishly hoard, but to generously share with the less fortunate, just like the Lord generously shares them with us! Much LOVE!

…it’s extremely foolish…not to believe and act on…the words of the one who made you…then selflessly saved you…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 February 2020 Proverbs 27:4.

Proverbs 27:4.    ​Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous (a torrent); but who is able to stand before envy (jealousy)?
 

So at last it’s Friday, and everybody sighing a sigh of relief…as though we work so hard this week, (smile) when so many of us don’t know the real meaning of hard work! Our parents, and their parents knew the meaning of hard work because they didn’t have all the amenities and accoutrements that we have nowadays, and yet many of them did a nine to five like us and didn’t complain half as much as we do. 

I guess the problem is that we’ve become too accustomed to the easy life and lost all the spine our parents had. And it’s not that some of us don’t have it hard in these modern times, but it’s just a different kind of hard. However, is Friday, and work soon done, so enough of the philosophizing. I’m in paradise, or a part of paradise, and I do feel sorry for those of you who are enshrined in the cold. (smile) 

But it seems like I’m not even in the best part, because a breddren wrote in response to yesterday’s Bit, that I should not boast because he’s in heaven, sweet Tobago. (smile) Yes Antonius, who showing off now eh? Right now I only have a slice of heaven, but one of these good days I’ll be in heaven too! And yes Miss Althea, I’ll look after my diet. I’m only having breakfast and dinner. In any case, I’m not much into food since that tumour operation a couple of years ago. 

So what’s happening today? Same as yesterday…nothing! The duchess just went out, like yesterday, don’t know when she’ll be back either. But that’s okay by me, she’s home, and I’m happy just to go and soak in the salt, eat some jerk something or a burger, and drink a yellow bird or some other such exotic cocktail over by the beach hut, then come back and rest before dinner and some decent entertainment they have tonight. 

Last night when we wanted to go out nobody took us out, and we ended up listening to a karaoke show, then went to check out the disco which was too loud and too young, (smile) but I’m sure tonight when I want to stay in and hear the live band, somebody’s going to show up. Anyway, the sun’s shining and the cool sea breeze is blowing, although it’s somewhat cloudy and the planes are still coming and going. Mo Bay seems to be real popular this winter season. Don’t even know the temperature, and I don’t care, once I can go outside in shirtsleeves or even barebacked. (smile) 

And the ordinary workingman is just dying to let his voice be heard, so let’s bring him up nuh: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! The weekend…the weekend! That is all I can look forward to yes! But brother, some people real lucky though, they get to go away for the winter! 

Chuh! Wish I could do that too, but with the li’l pittance the slave master pay me, and with mih big family like I’ll never be able to afford a foreign vacation, not even in the summer, much less in the winter. But is okay. I born and grow here in the cold, and the cold is all I really know, except for the short summer months.

And I’ve learned to never jealous people for what they have because yuh never know how they get it, possibly even sell their soul, and unless you willing to do the same, then it doh make sense to jealous them. So let me just enjoy my weekend yes, do my thing, watch mih tv, drink mih drinks, play with mih children, LOVE mih wife and thank God for Fridays and weekends and that I still alive to enjoy them!’ 

Of a truth friends! The workingman sure has innate wisdom and common sense. Some people might be a tad jealous that I’m here holidaying in sunny Jamaica, but they don’t know what I did to be able to get here. I might have even sold my soul. (smile) And like is not me alone selling we soul, because since I began writing the workingman speech, some five planes passed in to land at the nearby airport. 

And since we not jealous and envious because we’re Christian breddren, (smile) let’s chant our Friday Chant nuh, letting the whole world know how we going to spend our weekend. As one in strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘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 friends, we always have to be cognizant of our ambassadorial position for Jesus, and we can’t go about vikey-vie and wishy-washy when we doing His business, meaning we always have to be on our p’s and q’s, whatever we doing, since we’re always representing Him. And I wasn’t planning to get into envy and jealousy nuh, but the thought just kept nagging at me, and some good envy scripture is always useful in this troubled and evil world. (smile) 

So here goes, from the wisest of the wise, Cousin Sol. ‘Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous (a torrent); but who is able to stand before envy (jealousy)?’ Nobody friends, nobody! Envy and jealousy are two of the enemy’s mightiest weapons. No wonder Cousin Sol warned earlier on: ‘Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious of the wicked.’ (Prov.24:19) And again: ‘Let not thine heart envy sinners; but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.’ (Prov. 23:17) 

Oh friends, there are so many stories in the Good Book about envy and the trouble it causes, but we don’t have time to visit but a couple. Remember why Cain killed Abel? Because he was jealous that the Lord accepted his brother’s sacrifice and not his own. (1 John 3:12) And look at the mighty psalmist, Asaph. He says plainly: ‘But as for me, my feet were almost gone (I had almost stumbled); my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish (boastful), when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.’ (Ps.73:2-3, 17) 

Oh my people, if such a man of God could be envious of the prosperity of the wicked, you can imagine how it’s also easy for us to fall prey to the enemy’s temptations where envy and jealousy are concerned. So please let’s not be caught up in the envy game nuh, because it’s the most dangerous and cruel game on earth. The Lord will provide all that we NEED, though not necessarily all that we WANT! 

So let’s be truly Christian-like and be satisfied with what we have nuh! Much LOVE!

…our motto ought to be…the Lord is my shepherd…I shall not want…so I won’t have cause to envy…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 February 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.
 

Come Tuesday…I’m glad to be alive! Come Tuesday…my soul’s soaring to high heaven, because the Lord has kept His promise to get me through Monday all in one piece! Wow friends! I hope we’re all in the same boat…the one with Jesus being the guide, captain and pilot! For it’s only that boat, the one with that commander, that will get us safely through the storms of this earthly life to the other side, where there is no more pain and suffering, no darkness, just joy and everlasting peace in the light of Jesus! 

And in keeping with that theme of trust and surrender to Jesus, here is this simple but most appropriate prayer from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. It’s titled ‘Heartstrings.’ Please pray with me: ‘Lord, with no sense of direction I’m forever losing my way. Please tie a string From Your heart to mine So that even in the darkness I’ll feel the tug of Your heart And find my way home.’ Oh my people, that’s so simple, but ever so touching in its directness and simplicity. 

What better way to stay attached to our Maker than with the awesome connection of a heart string. That way, we can never lose our focus, it will be ever stayed on Him, as it ought to. And that’s exactly what’s promised in Isaiah: comfort, through trust in the Lord. Listen to these most comforting words. ‘Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand (in strength), and his arm shall rule for him: behold his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him. 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.40:10-11) 

How can you ever beat such a promise eh precious people of God? You simply can’t! And our Bit is the Bible Promise for our poem today; the awesome promise of Almighty God to feed and gently care for all those who wisely come to Him for help, who desire to be in His fold and allow Him to lead and guide them like a kind and caring shepherd does his sheep. And there are so many references to God being our shepherd in the Good Book that we can’t  cover them all, so we’ll just highlight a few; the first from the prophet Ezekiel. 

‘Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle (sheep) and cattle (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). What a mighty promise friends! And according to the scholars the reference to Bruh David there is in regards to his role during the Millennium reign of Christ. He will be appointed a shepherd of Christ’s flock. 

Now we’ll turn to the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, awesome words that we all claim to know, but as always, don’t fully put into practice, otherwise our lives wouldn’t be in such an ungodly mess. (smile) Hear the Master: ‘The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal, and to 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 10:10-11) And isn’t that exactly what He did on the cross at Calvary…give His sinless life so selflessly for us, the hoped-for sheep of His pasture? 

That’s the amazing positivity and optimism of Christ; that before He was even sure of a flock, He died to preserve them! Wow! No one else would ever dream of doing that…except our Saviour! And as He continues later on: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 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 must I bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ (John 10:14-16) 

Oh friends, the other flock Jesus was referring to there was us, the non-Jews, the Gentiles, whom He greatly desired to also include in His one worldwide flock at a slightly later date, through Bruh Paul. So this morning, whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves, let’s make sure that we know, and are hearing the voice of our Good Shepherd nuh, as He walks and talks and guides us safely and LOVINGLY through our day. 

As Bruh David so famously described it: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me…’  (Ps. 23:1-4) Yes friends, those are gospel truths, if we believe in Jesus Christ! 

So for those of us who sincerely belief, let’s go home now telling the world in no uncertain voice, who and whose we are as set out in our Tuesday Mantra. In strong voice with sincere hearts: ‘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!’ 

So let’s go out now and do just that nuh; share the LOVE and friendship of Jesus with those unfortunate ones who don’t know Him! Much LOVE!

…and ye my flock…the flock of my pasture…are men…and I am your God…saith the Lord God…(Ezek. 34:31)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 November 2019 Philippians 4:19.

Philippians 4:19.    ​But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
 

Welcome folks, welcome! Welcome to the first snowfall of this winter season in my area! And if you have forgotten, the snow does look beautiful when it covers the rooftops and the grassy areas. And how can you not admire it as it’s falling down like li’l pearl teardrops, so innocent and unassuming! (smile) Yeh, but it could also be the devil in disguise. Thankfully though, right now it’s the wet stuff that’s falling, so it’s not really causing any problems on the roads, and whatever is on the grass and rooftops hopefully won’t stay long as the day warms up. 

Ah mih people, it’s a wake up call to begin winterizing; take out your winter attire; hat’s boots, scarves, gloves etc., winterize your cars, get your snow shovels and snow blowers ready, make sure your furnace is running efficiently and all the other little things we need to get done as we set in for a long, cold season. Ah, you friends living down south don’t know how blessed you all are nuh, because winter can be such a frustrating, difficult and expensive time.

And the days can be so dark and dreary, that they automatically weaken your spirit and your desire to do anything constructive. But as always, our great God is right there with us, providing the necessary sustenance, the necessary strength of all kinds, and lifting our spirits so that we don’t fall prey to the negative emotions of despair, hopelessness, and the winter blahs, or what we now calling ‘SAD,’ Seasonal Affective Disorder). 

And there are two paramount scriptures that we need to hold dearly and tightly come the winter blahs. The first is that ole faithful; ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called (elect, saints) according to his purpose.’ (Rom. 8:28) Ah friends, there is no better time to believe that verse of scripture than in the upcoming months of winter, as it gives us a solid foundation to handle all the negative winter stuff that comes against us, knowing that our wonderful God is working out everything, both good and bad, in our favour, because we truly LOVE and trust and surrender our all to Him! 

And the next verse is like the first, (smile) producing overwhelming hope and faith in a rough and tough season. Remember these awesome words of Bruh Paul to the Philippians: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ Yes my fellow saints in Christ, our magnanimous and magnificent God WILL satisfy all our needs as we sacrifice our thoughts, words and deeds in His honour.

Hear how the scholars explain it. ‘4:19. Because the Lord is aware of the sacrifice (v.18) the Philippians made in meeting Paul’s needs, God will surely supply all their need. God will meet their “need” (1) according to his riches, that is, in proportion to His unlimited resources; (2) in glory, that is, He will meet their need “gloriously” on “in a splendid manner”; and (3) by Christ Jesus.’ 

And we know that our God keeps all of His promises, so there is no need to be anxious over our earthly needs. And to really help us set up this strong winter foundation, let’s bring to mind some other foundational and faithful scriptures nuh. (smile)

Remember this big and oh so important one from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Himself? ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) That says it all right there friends, but as they say, there’s strength in numbers, so check out this one. ‘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) 

Mamacita! What can be more beautiful or inspirational eh? How about this one? ‘And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:’ (2 Cor. 9:8) There again my people, we have the promise of God’s power, His generosity and unfailing faithfulness!

And we’ll close with some of the most awesome and inspirational verses in the Good Book; the immortal words of Bruh David: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.’ (Ps. 23:1-4) 

Oh my fellow saints in Christ, what wonderful words of hope and reassurance! And they are not meant to strengthen only those of us preparing for winter, but for ALL believers, so that we can remain strong and steadfast against the enemy, and do the work God has planned for each of us.

Now let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Thursday Blessings, blessings that the Lord has magnanimously granted us so that we can do His holy will. All together in strong voice: ‘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 if we’re sincere in those pronouncements, then the next step is for us to go out and put those blessings to work in Jesus’ name. Much LOVE!

…I will never leave you…nor forsake you…that’s God’s faithful promise…believe it…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 September 2019 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.
 

Good news people! Today’s Tuesday! Wow! That means the frustrating and oftimes emotionally negative day called Monday is past and gone, now confined to the dustbin of history, and we can therefore move on without any fear or anxiety about it…at least for another week! (smile) Yeh, a brand new day on God’s great earth has blossomed, for which we ought to be eternally grateful. 

Now here is this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that highlights some of our problems, but then shows us the answer to them all. It is appropriately titled: ‘I Keep Running Back to You.’ 

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!’ 

And my fellow believers that’s just wisdom at it’s highest level! For there’s NO ONE like our great, merciful and LOVING God, who is willing to accept us just as we are! And He’s even happier than us when we come running back to Him, because remember His ultimate desire is that He loses not a SINGLE ONE of His most precious creation to the evil and satanic realm! 

That’s why Isaiah proclaimed in his writings these wonderful words of hope and encouragement: ‘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.’ Mama Mia! How can you not want to be a child of Almighty God with such awesome promises being made eh? 

And furthermore, we know that the Lord never breaks any of His promises, He keeps every single one, which means that offer of shepherd-like care and LOVE are not just empty words, but a most generous enticement and welcome to His wonderful fold! And there are so many scriptures that portray our great God as a wonderful and caring shepherd that today I just want to share a few of them. 

And we all know the most popular one; those remarkable words of Bruh David: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.’ (Ps.23:1) Oh friends, those few, simple but endearing and enduring words say it all! With God being our shepherd we’ll never want for any good thing! 

And Jeremiah joyfully declares: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles (ends, lands) afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.’ (Jer.31:10-11) 

Ah mih people, although the Lord punished Israel for their abominable sins, His LOVE for them was so great, He promised to gather the remnant and bring them back to their homeland and treat them like a caring shepherd. What other supposed God is so magnanimous eh? NONE but ours! 

Meanwhile Ezekiel confirms: ‘Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle (sheep) and cattle (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 lest you think that that’s all Old Testament stuff, hear the realization of all those promises from the One and Only, Jesus Christ Himself, as He rightly and righteously proclaims: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And so He did my brethren! And so He selflessly and sacrificially did! 

And as He further declares: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 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.’ (John 10:14-16) 

Yes friends, that’s us, Gentiles, non-Jews, that Jesus is referring to there! Please note He didn’t forget about us, but very much included us in His all-encompassing flock!  One flock, and One shepherd! That’s all that’s needed when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ is so great and wonderful! Are you hearing His voice today people? Are you heeding His shepherd’s call? I certainly hope so, since your eternal destiny depends totally on it! End of sermon! (smile) 

Now let’s go home declaring (wow!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the entire world know who and whose we are. In strong and sincere voice now: ‘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 we’re truly sincere, then let’s go out and share that awesome and amazing LOVE and friendship of Jesus with others who don’t know it nuh. That’s our bounden duty and Great Commission! Much LOVE!

…if you’re a sheep…then you need a shepherd…and the best there is…His name is Jesus…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 August 2019 John 10:11.

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

Please get with the programme friends! What programme you ask? How yuh mean what programme eh? It’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, that means church calls! Yes, we’re required to join with other believers in the Lord’s sanctuary to worship and exalt our heavenly Father, encourage each other, hear His Holy Word and get confidence to go out and fight another week of victorious battles in His name! Yes friends, it’s the biggest day of the week! So let’s begin the celebrations in our usual manner nuh; in song, in praise and worship, telling our wonderful God how much we LOVE and admire and revere Him. 

And today’s song of praise is possibly the second most known and LOVED bit of scripture, after the ‘Our Father,’ or ‘Lord’s Prayer.’ And we talking about Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd! Yes mih people, Bruh David’s amazing and immortal words celebrating the care, compassion and LOVING-kindness of the God of his forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! So in strong voice, with plenty soul and sincere emotion, truly believing those simple but awesomely descriptive words and sentiments, let’s sing!  

‘The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want He makes me lie down in green pastures He leads me beside the still waters He restore’th my soul And guides my path in righteousness For His name’s sake Surely goodness and mercy Shall follow me all the days of my life And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever and ever and ever. 

Yea, Though I walk through the valley Of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou prepar’est a table Before me in the presence of my enemies Thou anoint’est my head with oil My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and LOVING-kindness Shall follow me all the days of my life And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever and ever and ever. Amen!’ 

What a marvellous description of our Jehovah God! I don’t think it could be described any better, for we are indeed lost and dumb like sheep and we desperately need a good and kindly shepherd to lead and guide and take care of us. And there’s none who does it better than Yahweh; our Creator, Provider, Healer, Comforter, our Be All and End All! Yes indeed, our heavenly Father is all those things to us, and when you add His unconditional LOVE, grace, and forgiveness to the already long list of His wonderful attributes, you just have to jump and shout for joy and declare: ‘Oh what a good thing I’ve got!’ 

And yuh know what friends, Bruh David could only have written such touching and heartfelt words because He experienced first hand the Lord’s goodness and LOVING-kindness in His blessed but oh so tumultuous and eventful life! And the imagery of God being our shepherd would have resonated quite well with the agrarian Israelites back then, because it was language they understood. 

And following that story line, the scholars make an interesting observation: ‘Believers are never pictured in Scripture as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on their Shepherd for His provision and protection. The believer is more than a dependent sheep, however; he is also like and honoured guest, since the Lord prepares a table for him (v.5). Connected with this honoured position is abundant provision, vindication before one’s enemies, and eternal celebration of God’s goodness.’ Oh brother! What could be better than all that eh? Absolutely NOTHING! 

And Isaiah also writes of God looking after His people in the shepherd metaphor. ‘Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand (in strength), and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him. 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.40:10-11) 

Oh my people, there’s something that just resonates of calm and comfort and compassion and caring when we talk about shepherding. And I guess because in our current society we are more into manufacturing and technology than farming, and actual sheep herding is not a big thing, we don’t understand all the nuances involved, and thus cannot really appreciate the great importance of a shepherd to a flock of sheep. But believe me, without a shepherd, a kind and caring one, a flock of sheep would not last very long in the great outdoors. Consequently, when Jesus came He continued the metaphor of the shepherd looking after his flock. Thus, He made this magnificent proclamation: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’  

Oh friends, mankind should be ever so ecstatic and joyful that Jesus made such a statement then went on to make it true, laying down His sinless life for our sinful ones, so that we could be reconciled with the Father, and have our sins forgiven and our souls washed white as snow! But I guess because we don’t fully understand the chemistry and sync between shepherd and sheep we’re lost and unaware of the deep relationship that exists between them. 

But Jesus reminds us of that important relationship. ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ (John 10:14) Yes precious people, the shepherd knows all his sheep, and the sheep know their shepherd as Jesus earlier stated. ‘But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter (doorkeeper) openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.’ (John 10:2-5) 

Now that’s what our Lord and Saviour is expecting of us friends; to know His voice and follow His call, not that of stranger’s, for they will just lead you astray. And to make the picture complete, listen to Bruh Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians when they sacrificed to send him a gift. ‘But my God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:19) That means when we remain in Jesus’ fold we will be well fed by the Father through Him. 

‘Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Phil.4:20) Please have a blessed day my fellow saints in Christ! Much LOVE!

…sheep without a shepherd…is like the blind leading the blind…

 

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