Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 June 2020 Matthew 5:14a.

Matthew 5:14a.     ​Ye are the light of the world… 
 

Yes, we’re disappointed because there’s still no corporate worship on this Sabbath Sunday, but since we’re true and faithful followers of the great, powerful and imaginative Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we will find a way to worship and celebrate the Sabbath while physically distancing! (smile) No doubt about that my people! And we’re not worried, because we know that some day, as soon as the Lord is good and ready, all these present troubles will pass. And all God’s children gave a loud and positive shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah! This too shall end!’ 

But until it does, we have to keep worshipping through technological means, and to tell the truth we still get to do most things, except the physical gathering and touching. But enough talk…we come here to worship not engage in idle chatter. (smile) And as always, we open with a sacrifice of praise, today’s hymn being titled, ‘Give Me Oil in My Lamp.’ And to tell the truth, I didn’t even know that was the correct name until I looked it up yesterday. I always knew it as a local spiritual ditty called, ‘A li’l more Oil in My Lamp,’ sung in some of the more evangelical churches, that got the spirit moving and the feet dancing. 

And so, in honour of that ‘Ole Time Religion,’ we going to sing it that way. I hope you like this one, mih pardner Scotty… hope it brings back memories. (smile) So let’s get the hands a clapping and the feet a dancing and voices in full, harmonious throat, as we sing praises to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! 

‘A li’l more oil in my lamp, to keep it burning. A li’l more oil in my lamp, I pray. A li’l more oil in my lamp, to keep it burning. Keep it burning till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!) A li’l more LOVE in my heart, to keep me sharing. A li’l more LOVE in my heart, I pray. A li’l more LOVE in my heart, to keep me sharing. Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain) 

A li’l more joy in my heart, to keep me singing. A li’l more joy in my heart, I pray. A li’l more joy in my heart, to keep me singing. Keep me singing till the break of day. (Refrain) A li’l more faith in my heart, to keep me praying. A li’l more faith in my heart, I pray. A li’l more faith in my heart, to keep me praying. Keep me praying till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!)’ 

Ah mih people, that was indeed a rousing rendition. It reminded me of how the Pentecostal Church where I grew up would be humming and jumping when they gave praise. But I guess to each his own, and I don’t think the Lord refuses any kind of praise, once it’s sincere. And I have one person’s view point on the benefit of the song. ‘For the religious, one interpretation is that it signifies a thirst for spiritual food—spiritual food to get one through the darkest of times in hopes of a brighter day, a clearer vision of one’s path or until one gains their salvation.’ 

And believe me friends, it certainly gives us spiritual food for dark and tough times! When we seek to have more, light, LOVE, joy and faith in our hearts and souls, it does inspire us to rise above our earthly problems and also receive divine guidance and wisdom to do the work that Christ desires of us. And right now I’m seeking some of that divine guidance and wisdom to know where to go from here. (smile) And I believe this is where I’m being guided. 

The first place is to the parable of the ten virgins; five who were wise enough to take extra oil for their lamps, and five who were foolish not to do so. We are expected to be like the first five; wise and take oil with us when we go to wait for the bridegroom at the wedding feast, so that our lights don’t go out if He takes a long time to come. Remember, Jesus expects us to be bright, shining beacons to the world: As He clearly says: ‘Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:14a; 16) 

And to do that in an excellent and diligent manner, as the song says, we need other things; like LOVE. And hear Jesus on the subject: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) Oh friends, that seems clear and straightforward! But does our behaviour tell that story? Not nearly enough as it ought to! 

And would you believe that if we truly followed Jesus’ advice, our lives would be filled with that unsurpassable blessing called joy? And not the joy of this world, but Jesus’ special kind. ‘These things have I spoken unto you; that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full.’ (John 13:11) And later on, He again told the disciples: ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ (John 16:24) And let’s not forget ‘that the joy of the Lord is our strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) So without it, we’re weak, fragile and unable to do His work properly. 

That brings us to the last piece of the puzzle, but the first one we need to acquire, and the one that keeps us keeping on; faith. That ‘substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb.11:1) Yes friends, buoyed by hope, we achieve faith; assurance in the New Testament, and this brings us to a certain and sure conviction in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Obviously we can get deeper into all of those topics, but hopefully this will suffice for now, will serve as a catalyst to keep us strong and steadfast in prayer, with LOVE for each other, like shining lights filled with joy, and doing the best we can in these turbulent times. Much LOVE!

…to know Christ’s joy…and LOVE…and peace…is to accept Him forever…as Lord and Saviour…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 October 2017 Psalm 100:5.

Psalm 100:5.   For the Lord is good; his mercy (LOVE) is everlasting; and his truth (faithfulness) endureth to all generations.

Ah friends, when the sleep is good, it’s ever so good! But when it’s bad…it’s also ever so bad! Chuh! And you must be wondering what all of that has to do with anything eh? 

Well everything…and nothing! (smile) Fear not…the ole fella’s just trying to be somewhat doltish this chilly fall morning and make excuses for my late getting up. Yeh, the early morning sleep was indeed sweet… 

But have you ever noticed, like how it’s darkest just before the dawn, that sleep is usually the sweetest just before you have to get up? The Lord sure knows how to disrupt one of our greatest pleasures. 

And I noticed a rather striking anomaly just now as I went to put out the garbage: most of the trees around my area are still laden with green leaves, even though my driveway is full of dead, dry ones. 

It’s certainly strange that in the middle of October, the scenery is still so green. But yuh know what? We should not be overly concerned with all of that stuff, for that’s God’s department and He knows what He’s doing. 

Here is what we should be truly concerned about. It’s contained in a poem titled ‘YOU LOVE ME!’ taken from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. 

Please read with me. ‘Yesterday, God, I was soaring Like a graceful eagle And You LOVED me. Today I feel like a blob And You LOVE me. Tomorrow I may ask “Whatever happened to disturb me yesterday?” And You’ll LOVE me. 

God, there are innumerable things I cannot begin to comprehend But the one great certainty In all my life is this: I know that You LOVE me!’ 

Wow mih people! What a certainty! And it’s the ONLY ONE we really need to know, because all the other stuff flows directly from that! 

And I just have to proclaim it: What a wonderful God we serve and worship! There is NONE other like Him: the Alpha and Omega; the First and the Last; the ONE and ONLY True and Living God, from whom all things flow! Glory Be! 

And the Bible Promise for that poem is also our Bit for today: ‘For the Lord is good; his mercy (LOVE) is everlasting; and his truth (faithfulness) endureth to all generations.’ 

Oh my fellow believers, what an awesome statement that is! One that we cannot dispute because we see and experience it every single day of our lives! Mama Mia! How then can we not LOVE the Lord eh? That’s nothing but a fool’s wisdom! 

Thus it isn’t surprising at the number of times that statement is found in the Bible, especially the Psalms. Listen to how Psalm 106 – Israel sins against God’s LOVE – begins: ‘Praise ye the Lord (sing Hallelujah). 

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter (express) the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can show forth all his praise? Blessed are they that keep judgement (justice), and he that doeth righteousness at all times.’ (Ps.106:1-3) 

Oh friends, don’t those words move you, don’t they just sing in your heart when you consider the goodness and ‘wonderfulness’ of our great God? If you are a true and serious believer, they ought to. 

And Psalm 136 – Praise for the Lord’s past and present blessings – takes the sentiment even further. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.’ (Ps.136:1-3) 

And the other 23 verses, after shouting out some great work of God, all end the same way: ‘for his mercy endureth for ever.’ And that’s no lie! 

And it seems that it all originated on the day the Ark of the covenant was finally brought up to Jerusalem and Bruh David delivered a psalm of praise and thanksgiving for Asaph and his brethren to sing, a psalm on which Psalm 105 is based. 

‘Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deed among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.’ (1 Chron.16:8-11) Words of everlasting wisdom my people! 

And hear how Bruh David ends the psalm. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory (triumph) in thy praise. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.’ (1 Chr.16:34-36) 

Ah mih breddren, it’s so good to sing the praises of our magnificent and magnanimous God! Now let’s go home singing our Tuesday Mantra, which let’s the world know who and whose we are. 

In loud voice and sweet harmony now: ‘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!’ 

Now let’s go out and action that statement: truly share Christ’s LOVE! Much LOVE!

…oh that Christians would sing God’s praises…and give Him much deserved thanks…much more than we do…