Today’s Scrip-Bit   15 November 2021 Psalm 84:12.

Psalm 84:12.     O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Now, since each day unerringly follows the other, like the moon automatically follows the sun, today had to be Monday because yesterday was Sunday, when we gathered in worship and the Lord refreshed and strengthened us to begin the new workweek with a strong fighting spirit, seeking nothing but victory for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His righteous kingdom! 

And yes, I know that’s a long, convoluted sentence, but sometimes those sentences are good, because they get us to stop and think about what they really mean, especially in this age of the short attention span, where we don’t have to use our brains to figure out anything, since it’s laid out right on a silver platter, short and sweet for us. But please remember that old saying, ‘if you don’t use it, you will lose it.’ And that’s the gospel truth my people. If we don’t use our God-given gifts, they will atrophy and eventually become useless. 

And sadly, that’s where our world is headed right now, what with things like robots, artificial intelligence and self-driven vehicles becoming more a part of our everyday life. Soon we won’t have to do anything for ourselves and consequently we’ll lose the use of most of our faculties. In fact, a lot of us have already begun losing the use of many of our faculties with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic where we were isolated for a long period of time. That only lead to a higher than normal amount of fear, anxiety, depression, mental illness and domestic abuse. 

But since the pandemic doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon, we desperately need to have a strategy in place to help us cope with all the negative stuff that’s currently circulating in our world. Now my brethren, the only avenue I see open and able to deal with our situation is living for Jesus! That’s the long and short of the story! Jesus is the ONLY One who can help us to successfully handle all the negativity that’s coming against us at this present time. 

And what grounds do I have for saying so. Listen to these encouraging and uplifting words of the psalmist. He positively proclaims: ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.’ (Ps. 84:11-12) 

Wow friends! What a marvellous declaration! That’s why we believe, or rather we know that those who worship the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be able to withstand anything that comes against them. The Lord God Himself has promised it. As Jeremiah declared: ‘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).’ (Jer. 29:11) And we all know that Jehovah God keeps ALL of His promises! He’s not reneged on a single one down through the ages. 

However, to command His marvellous benefits, we need to walk uprightly and obediently before Him. And with the free will He’s given us, it’s our choice, our decision to make. Please note though, these most important words of Moses to the Israelites. ‘I call heaven and earth to record (witness) this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.’ (Deut. 30:19) And that charge still stands today my people! 

We still have the free will, the opportunity to choose life or death, blessing or cursing. Unfortunately though, many of us seem to be choosing death and cursing over life and blessing by refusing to follow the Lord, to walk uprightly and obediently before Him. That’s a totally unwise decision friends, one that we will pay for in the long run when we are eternally separated from God, and cast into the lake of fire with Satan, the prince of darkness and disobedience. 

Remember, what Bruh Paul said about disobedience: ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is sternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom. 6:23) And just like the Lord keeps the good promises, He also keeps the tough ones. So, there will be no getting away in the end if you don’t walk uprightly and follow His Son Jesus. 

And that’s the very reason He sent Jesus to die on the cross. Hear Jesus tell it nuh. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’ (John 3:16-17) And that’s it in a nutshell. If you don’t believe in Christ, you will perish, as simple as that. 

And friends, from personal experience, I can tell you that though living for Jesus might seem difficult in this evil and ungodly world, the reality is that He gives you the wherewithal to handle whatever comes against you. He won’t always make life easy, but He will enable you to handle life. No other supposed deity can sincerely and successfully promise that. So I plead with you, please rethink your options, and if you haven’t already chosen Jesus, please do so asap, in fact right now, because tomorrow, or even later, could be too late. 

So, let’s go to the Lord in prayer, through what we call our Monday Morning Battle Hymn and sincerely open up our hearts and souls to Him, pleading for His help. Altogether now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has 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 wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems. 

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. 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!’ 

Now, if we want the Lord to keep His promises, it behooves us to keep ours. Much LOVE!

…free will is good…but only if used wisely…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 June 2019 Psalm 84:11-12.

Psalm 84:11-12.    For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
 

And the days of the week pass quickly by…Monday…Tuesday…Then all of a sudden it’s Sunday again! The Lord’s Day, the day to head for His sanctuary to fellowship with other believers, to worship, praise, glorify, exalt, hear His Word and receive strength and confidence to go out and bravely face the upcoming week in this evil and ungodly world! 

And with the beautiful summer weather we’ve recently been having, there’s no excuse to not go to church. ‘Oh, we’re going to the cottage for the weekend,’ and other self-serving excuses just don’t cut it. There must be a church up in cottage country that you can go to especially on this long weekend when we’re celebrating Canada Day, the joyful birthday of our country! 

That’s something precious and important to give thanks for in concert with other believers. So please hie thee hither to some gathering of believers somewhere today and give thanks for our wonderful country and all the blessings that the Lord has poured down on us; most of which we don’t truly deserve, but in His awesome and amazing grace and mercy He’s chosen to bless us anyway. 

So let’s get the ball rolling by singing this wonderful song of praise and joy titled’ In the Garden (He walks with me).’The website, God Tube claims that: ‘Inspired by the gospel of John, chapter 20, this hymn celebrates the joyous companionship its author, C. Austin Miles, experiences with Jesus as he walks through the garden.’ 

So let’s sing this beautiful song that we all know and LOVE, in strong voice and sweet harmony. ‘I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses, And the voice I hear falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses… And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known! 

He speaks and the sound of His voice, Is so sweet the birds hush their singing, And the melody that he gave to me, Within my heart is ringing . . . And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known! 

I’d stay in the garden with Him though the night around me be falling. And He bids me go through the voice of woe, His voice to me is calling… And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other, has ever, known!’ (Repeat) 

Oh my people, that was just wonderful! And Jesus was certainly touched by our rendition. You can see Him choked up with true emotion, and wiping away the tears of joy that are seeping out of His eyes. But the words and sentiments conveyed in the song are so awesomely true that they can’t help but produce choked up emotions and tears of joy. Walking with Jesus at any time is amazing, but in the quiet of the morning in a beautiful garden, just the two of you alone…

Wow! That companionship would undoubtedly be terrific!  Just think about it nuh… As Jesus walks and talks with you, in the peace and quiet of the garden and tells you that you are His own. That must stir up something unbelievable deep inside! A joy so amazing, that you believe nobody else has ever experienced it to that level! 

And I just LOVE the next verse: ‘He speaks and the sound of His voice, Is so sweet the birds hush their singing, and the melody that he gave me, Within my heart is ringing…’ How touching!  And if it’s true that John 20 inspired the hymn, then it must be the section that describes a weeping and sorrowful Mary Magdalene meeting Jesus on the Resurrection Morn but doesn’t recognize Him. 

He enquires of her: ‘Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?’ And she, thinking He’s the gardener, asks if He knows where they had taken her Lord’s body. And it’s only when Jesus calls her by name ‘Mary,’ she realizes that it was Him, and responds with a shocked ‘Rabboni! (Master)’ (John 20:11-18) 

And yuh know what friends? If we walk sincerely with God, we will also experience that simple, but energizing mind-blowing experience in our own lives. How do I know that? Because the psalmist said so! ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.’  

And we all know that our God is a faithful keeper of His promises. That means if we walk closely with Him we will experience all of His goodness and mercy and faithfulness throughout our lives. And Bruh David endorsed that sentiment in spades in Psalm 34 – The Lord hears the righteous. 

‘O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear (reverence) the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want (lack) to them that fear (reverence) him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want (lack) any good thing.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself! (smile) 

And consequently Bruh Paul admonished the Ephesians: ‘For ye were sometimes (once) darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.)’ (Eph.5:8-9) And yes my fellow believers, Bruh Paul is also talking to us today! 

As the scholars say: ‘5:8. Darkness indicates that the readers used to be spiritually unenlightened, and accompanying this ignorance was immorality with its resultant guilt and misery. Light denotes that the recipients are now to be religiously informed. Their knowledge of the truth is attended by moral purity and happiness.’ 

Oh my people, do we really want to walk in darkness like so much of the world is doing? I sincerely doubt it, otherwise we would not have come to Jesus. But once you’re walking with Him, you need to be steadfast, to be committed to His way of life and thinking, to be obedient, which means living by the tenets of goodness, righteousness and truth.  So let’s be wise and get with programme nuh! Remember, it’s all for our benefit eh! Much LOVE!

…you can’t bear fruit of the Spirit…unless you’re walking in the light…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 July 2014 Psalm 42:1

Psalm 42:1.   As the hart panteth after (the deer longs for) the water brooks, so panteth (longs) my soul after thee, O God.

And then it was Thursday – the day before Friday, the harbinger of the weekend! And this is Toronto’s big weekend in the sun, its weekend to shine brightly as the Caribana celebrations ramp up to the finale, the big parade on Saturday, moving from the Exhibition Stadium grounds out on to and down Lakeshore Boulevard.
 
Oh sorry Friends, officially the celebration is no longer Caribana, but something like Scotia Bank Caribbean Carnival. That’s because in the last few years the original Caribana Committee took the current runners of the festivities to court claiming copyright for the name Caribana, and they won.
 
However, despite all the legal wrangling, it will be forever known as Caribana, to the millions who’ve been involved in it. As they say, what’s in a name eh? A rose by any other name is just as sweet. I guess the same goes for the T.O. festivities. And would you believe that after all the bad blood between the two sides, there is now talk about them joining together. Ah Lord eh!
 
Anyway my brethren, I want to share with you a few words from one of my favourite pastors, Dr. Robert H. Schuller, and this from his Hour of Power Devotional. I don’t think I’ve shared this before, but even if I have, it’s worthwhile hearing it again.
 
He says that we ought to be extraordinary. ‘Choose the best, shun mediocrity. Mediocrity has a way of shrivelling up enthusiasm. But commitment to excellence taps an incredible source of energy. Elect the best, no matter what the price tag.’
 
And that’s gospel truth my people! And electing the best becomes even more important when you are a follower of Jesus Christ, because Jesus requires excellence in all those who choose to come to Him. Without overall excellence in our lives Friends, we’ll never reach the pinnacle, the heights that the Lord has planned for us.
 
And we cannot achieve excellence either without a helping hand from Almighty God. That’s why it’s so important to have that need, that intense longing for Jesus, as our Bit so astutely declares: ‘As the hart panteth after (the deer longs for) the water brooks, so panteth (longs) my soul after thee, O God.’
 
And that, my people, should be the modus operandi, the wish of all true believers! We ought to hunger and thirst after righteousness, as Jesus says in the Beatitudes, (Matt.5:6) so that He can fill us with His LOVE and mercy and guidance, without which we’d be totally lost in this evil, oppressive world.
 
And I just noticed an interesting scholars’ explanation for that Beatitude. ‘5:6. These future possessors of the earth are its presently installed rightful heirs, and even now they hunger and thirst after righteousness. They experience a deep desire for personal righteousness, which in itself is proof of their spiritual rebirth.
 
Those who are poor and empty in their own spiritual poverty recognize the depth of their need, and they hunger and thirst for that which only God can give them. They shall be filled (Gr. chortazo) refers to a complete satisfaction. The psalmist proclaimed: ‘He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” (Ps.107:9)
 
Ah Friends, why in heavens name would we not be hungering and thirsting for Jesus and His righteousness if we claim to believe in Him eh? But the sad fact of the matter is that many of us are doing just that, claiming to believe, but not intensely longing for His righteousness, even though we are spiritually poor.
 
Unwisely, we try to fill up the empty space in us with the things of the world; its false glitz and glamour and earthly riches. But my brethren none of that can ever fully replace, or be better than the riches and the righteousness of heaven. And though some of us know that deep down in our hearts, yet we insist on pushing Jesus aside to embrace the things of the world.
 
Now hear these words from Psalm 84, the rejoicing of a pilgrim to the temple in Jerusalem. ‘How amiable are thy tabernacles (lovely are thy dwellings) O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.
 
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will still be praising thee.   Selah…. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper (stand at the threshold) in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
 
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.’ (Ps.84:1-4, 11-12)
 
Oh Friends, those are the sentiments of an earthly traveller hungering for God’s presence, and until we can all truthfully echo those same sentiments, we are not doing our best, we are not longing for Jesus as intensely as we should, and therefore we will not be as excellent as we ought to be.
 
Again my people, I ask us today to ponder, to consider the condition of our souls, and if there be any lack, any emptiness therein, please turn to Jesus and ask Him to LOVINGLY  fill those empty spaces with His grace, LOVE and mercy, so that we can go out and do excellent things in His holy name. For that is the wisdom that comes from heaven on high! Much LOVE!
 
…I stretch forth my hands unto thee…my soul thirsteth after thee…as a thirsty land…Selah… (Ps.143:6)