Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 February 2020 Romans 8:28.

Romans 8:28.    ​And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
 
Come Sunday morning, me and my friends are heading for the Lord’s sanctuary, to celebrate His day, to give Him thanks and praise, to call to Him for help, and receive said help through the hearing of His Word, the supernatural moving of His Holy Spirit and encouragement from our fellow believers! That’s what me and my friends are going to do this Sunday morning – or evening – come hell or high water! 

Oh my people, a li’l cold or inclement weather shouldn’t stop us from getting out to the celebrations at some time of the day. Just think what our lives would be like if Jesus didn’t feel like coming to earth and going to the cross nuh? Remember the Father didn’t force Him, but He agreed to do it after He pointed out that Jesus was the only choice the bunch of sinful ingrates He created had of bypassing the consuming fires of hell. So having to make a bit of a sacrifice to go out one day a week and praise and give Him the glory He so assuredly deserves, should not be a big thing. 

Anyway, as always, we’ll begin the proceedings with some worship. And today’s hymn is an old one we all know and LOVE. It’s titled, ‘It is Well with my Soul.’ It highlights the incredible story of faith of one Horatio Spafford (1828-1888), who at the height of success and prosperity, like Job, suffered much tragedy. A prominent and prosperous Christian Chicago lawyer, he first suffered the loss of his son, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed his real estate investments, then in 1873, he sent his wife and four daughters on a boat trip to Europe. 

However, a few days later, he received a telegram from his wife that said: ‘Saved alone…’ The boat had been shipwrecked and all four daughters lost. And ostensibly this oldie but goldie was created a short time later when Spafford on his way to meet his wife, was passing over the area where his daughters lost their lives. Now having heard that background, let’s open our hearts and voices to high heaven in a soulful and harmonious rendition of this testament to faith, and the resilience that can be found in Christ when it’s called for. 

As one now: ‘When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul (Chorus: It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.) Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Chorus) My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul (Chorus) 

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Chorus) But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul! (Chorus) And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul. It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.’ 

Oh my people, what strong, incredible faith, what inordinate trust what herculean courage was called for to pen those awesome, but oh so true words! I doubt many believers (steups!) would have been able to do it, because not many of us have those magnanimous parts. Many of us would have been cursing God, even turned away from Him. But Mr. Spafford, in his tragic circumstance probably remembered Job’s story, possibly even read it, and like Job, concluded that ranting and raving against God would not help the situation. 

He obviously rejected Job’s wife’s advice in favour of Job’s wisdom: ‘Then said his (Job’s) wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive (accept) good at the hand of God, and shall nor receive (accept) evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:9-10) Friends, that’s one of the most interesting and enlightening conversations in the Good Book. 

And the scholars explain it thus: ‘2:9-10. Job’s wife suggested that Job do what Satan had predicted: curse God. After all she had been through, it was no wonder she was ready to give up all hope. But Job recognized that both good and evil come from God’s hand, though one by His active will and the other by His permissive will. God can permit evil things to happen for good ends (cf. Gen. 50:19-20; Bruh Joseph’s story). In all this did not Job sin is proof enough that Satan was wrong and was sorely defeated. Satan does not appear again in the book.’ 

And I guess Horatio Spafford also proved Satan wrong, because instead of cursing God, he wrote a touching testimonial to His awesome comfort and consolation in times of heartbreak and severe tragedy. And the only thing we can really do in those cases, unless we want to drive ourselves crazy, is hang on to this awesome scripture verse of hope: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ No other scripture can give us a supposedly comforting reason for why bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. 

Friends, we just have to put our total trust in Almighty God and remember what He’s done for us in the past, and lean on His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. Remember His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, and He knows the end from the beginning, so we just have to surrender our all to Him, regardless of the circumstances. That’s what true faith is all about! Much LOVE!

…ours is not to question…just to trust and obey…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 July 2016 Lamentations 3:31.

  Lamentations 3:31.    For the Lord will not cast off for ever.

Aye friends, the big day, Sunday is here! Time for worshipping, fellowshipping and offering much praise and thanks to our Creator and Provider, on this, His special day. So please darken the doors of your church, once you are physically able to. (smile) 

Do not invoke flimsy excuses for not going, because the Lord is looking down from His high heaven and taking notes in His big black book on those who refuse to come to His sanctuary and worship with other believers, when they are fully capable of doing so. So consider yourselves warned. Now to get into the right frame of mind this Sunday morning, let’s sing this well-known and very encouraging hymn; ‘It is Well.’ 

In glorious harmony now: ‘(When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul.)  (Refrain): It is well, (it is well), With my soul, (with my soul) It is well, it is well, with my soul. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Refrain) 

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (Refrain) For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life, Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Refrain) 

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul. (Refrain) And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul. (Refrain)’ 

Yes my brethren, regardless of what happens to us down here on earth, let’s remember that it is always well with our souls, because we have the Lord Jesus Christ as our wonderful benefactor, and in time He will make everything right. And that segues smoothly into our Bit for today. ‘For the Lord will not cast off for ever.’ No my fellow believers, though our great and wonderful God may chasten us, He will never cast us away for ever. 

Ah friends, Chapter three in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, sub-titled ‘Hope and relief through God’s mercy,’ is at once one of the most heartbreaking, as well as reassuring in the Bible. That’s because Jeremiah pours out his woes in the beginning, then declares his utmost hope and faith in the Lord’s mercies afterwards. 

Listen to the verse after our Bit. ‘But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.’ (Lam.3:32) And that’s indisputable truth my people, as Jeremiah earlier declares: ‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’ (Lam.3:22-23) 

And the scholars offer this explanation. ‘3:22-23. These verses embody the central thesis of the book. When God dealt with His sinful people He exhibited His compassions. The word translated mercies conveys God’s LOVE for His covenant people. The word faithfulness comes from a root meaning “be permanent, secure, reliable.” From this comes the associated idea of genuine faith; hence, the verb can be translated “believe.” (Gen.15:6) 

The word here is often translated “faith” but literally means “firmness” or faithfulness. Thus, it is used of the faithfulness of God Himself (Ps.36:5; 40:10; Lam.3:23), and of the need for the believer likewise to be faithful in his life and his service to God (2 Chr.19:9; Ps.119:30; Prov.12:22). 

The word root stresses that real faith is more than inner belief, even more than whole-souled committal. It is a condition of the soul marked by such a stable character and an attitude of total trust that the believer’s whole life is imbued with consistent, responsible service to God (cf. 1 Sam.26:23; Ps.37:3-6). From the biblical standpoint, true faith results in faithfulness in one’s life.’ 

Oh friends, the scholars are a bit wordy there, but they do try to give us some understanding of the passages. And by now we should have stopped drinking milk and eating solid food, (smile) which means we ought to be maturing in our faith, and thus understanding the Good Book better.  

And there are also some good scriptures there for us to check out, although I don’t believe too many of us will check them out. Too much work, we claim, and we don’t have the time either. But then we expect the Lord to have time for us, when we can’t be bothered to peruse His word. 

Please remember it’s a two way street my brethren; the Lord promised to look after us, and we promised to read and meditate on His word and keep His commandments. Remember too that it takes two hands to clap, so we can’t expect God to be good to us, when we are not good to Him. 

Now let’s go home with these encouraging words from Psalm 94 – How long shall the wicked triumph. ‘Blessed is the man whom thou chasteneth (instructeth), O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law; That thou mayest give him rest (relief) from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off (abandon) his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. But judgement shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.’ (Ps.94:12-14) 

Please let those words of reassurance resound and take root in our hearts, souls, bodies and minds today my people, so that we can go forth and be the salt of the earth and the light of the world as our Saviour Jesus Christ desires. Much LOVE!

…if all Christians were truly faithful to God…what a wonderful world this would be…