Today’s Scrip-Bit   4 December 2022 Psalm 27:1.

Psalm 27:1.       The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Oh friends, this Sunday morning reminds me of Bruh David’s heartfelt words in the opening verse of Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps. 122:1) Consequently, I want to offer us that same marvellous opportunity today. So please, let us be glad on this the Lord’s Day and go into His house this morning filled with much thanks and praise for being alive and being a valued member of His flock, a joint heir with His Son Jesus Christ and therefore partakers of all that He has given to Christ. Nothing could be better than that my faithful brethren because it means the whole universe is our inheritance. Glory be! 

And since our bountiful inheritance all came about through Christ’s selfless work, it’s only right that we should offer up heartfelt gratitude and praise to His holy name. And we’ll do that today by opening our proceedings with a song most appropriately titled, ‘In Christ Alone,’ written in 2002 by Stewart Townend and Keith Getty. The writers wanted to encapsulate the theme of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, plus its implications for us, and they certainly have done that. So, let’s raise our harmonious voices in sweet sacrificial praise in a rousing, but soulful, mid-tempo version of this beautiful song. 

Singing: ‘In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of LOVE, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My comforter, my all in all—Here in the LOVE of Christ I stand. In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of LOVE and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied; For ev’ry sin on Him was laid— 

Here in the death of Christ I live. There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine— Bought with the precious blood of Christ. No guilt in life, no fear in death— This is the pow’r of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home— Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand. Yes, Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.’ 

Oh my people, that was a wonderful rendition, and all heaven was singing with us! And as I look at the words and sentiments expressed in the song, I can’t help but see the truth of it all. Christ is the ONLY ONE who can be at the same time, our hope, light, strength, song, cornerstone and solid ground. And we can find scriptures that personify all of them through Him. 

Listen to this one on hope from the pen of Peter. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’ (1 Pet. 1:3) Yes my fellow believers, it’s only through Christ’s resurrection that we can have a true and living hope of eternal life! 

And as per our light, Jesus Himself said it thus: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) And there’s no disputing that claim because it’s what He came to do; to bring the freeing light of God to a dark and sin enslaved evil world! 

Then as regards our strength… Oh, we all know that magnificent verse of scripture written by Bruh Paul to the Philippians: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!’ (Phil. 4:13) And that’s more gospel truth friends, because it is only through Christ’s strength, His empowerment, that we are able to stand strong and steadfast against the enemy and all his evil wiles and temptations. And Bruh David said it so well in Psalm 27: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ (Ps. 27:1) 

And if you didn’t know about Christ being our song, (smile) Moses declared it long ago when he and the children of Israel sang: ‘The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation (praise Him); my father’s God, and I will exalt him.’ (Ex.15:2) And that verse was so important and sweet, that the psalmist gave it further exposure in Psalm 118:14. 

Now, it’s no secret that Jesus is our cornerstone! He is our foundation, our measuring stick or example, the promise of God to His people! No ifs ands or buts about that, for without Him we’d be cast aside for ever. Isaiah said it long ago: ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone. A tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.’ (Is. 28:16) 

And Peter corroborates that the scripture was fulfilled, when speaking of Jesus: ‘Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, The stone which the builders disallowed (rejected), the same is made the head of the corner (chief cornerstone).’ (1 Pet. 2:7) Yes friends, Christ’s church is the work of a Master Craftsman, and He is the solid, rocklike foundation on which it’s built. 

And we all know what Jesus said about the man who built his life on Him. ‘Therefore whosever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a (the) rock.’ (Matt. 7:24) And that rock is Jesus, who no flood or strong wind or natural disaster can destroy, because He’s solid like a rock! 

And we’ll end with this most appropriate commentary on the song. The writer sincerely entreats: ‘Lord, who am I, that you should desire so much to be LOVED by me? And who shall I LOVE, if I don’t LOVE You, my Jesus? Make me all Yours for the rest of my days. Give me Your LOVE; I ask for nothing more.’ Now, my fellow saints, please let that be our prayer for today! Much LOVE!

…Jesus is the ONLY sure hope in this world… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   6 November 2022 Psalm 122:1.

Psalm 122:1.         I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. 

It’s the Lord’s Day my fellow believers! Time to gather in worship to celebrate and give praiseful thanks to the Lord our Creator and Provider, either by our physical presence in His sanctuary, or through technological means. Let’s not forget the Lord’s commandment re this day: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) We break enough of them, and this one is fairly easy to keep, compared to some of the others. And Bruh David puts it ever so nicely when he writes in the opening verse of Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) 

Yes friends, it ought to be a pleasure, a privilege, a duty to enter into God’s house to praise and worship Him with other believers. And there are several other passages of scripture that invoke the same sentiment, as Isaiah 2:3, Micah 4:2, and Zechariah 8:21. That means going to the Lord’s house to worship is extremely important. And so, as the ole people would say: ‘Matter fix!’ (smile) We’ve proved our point. But many around the country will be late and inconvenienced with the turning back of the clocks one hour last night to be in sync with the unnecessary daylight saving time ritual. 

Now, let’s turn to today’s song of worship, one titled ‘Heaven Help Us All, originally written as a soulful ditty, but with a gospel-infused sound, by Ron Miller in 1970 and made popular by Stevie Wonder. Today though, we’re going to do the Ray Charles/ Gladys Knight version. So it’s time to open up our harmonious vocal pipes in soulful sacrificial praise and let heaven know of our earthly plight. 

Singing: ‘Heaven help the boy who never had a home Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone And Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall Lord, won’t you help us all? Heaven help the black man if he struggles one more day Heaven help the white man if he turns his back away Heaven help the man who kicks the man who has to crawl Heaven help us all. (Chorus: Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call) 

Oh, yeah Heaven help the boy who won’t reach twenty-one And Heaven help the man who gave that child a gun And Heaven help the people with their backs against the wall Lord, won’t you help us all? (Chorus: Heaven help us all…when we call) Gladys – monologue: ‘I want everybody within the sound of my voice this evening to fall down on their knees and say a prayer; asking for His guidance, His grace, His mercy. You might want to say: Lord, Lord, Lord, have mercy! 

Now I lay me down before I go to sleep In a troubled world, I pray the Lord, the Lord to keep. Keep hatred from the mighty and the mighty from the small Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call. We need You Jesus so won’t you hear us when we call. We can’t do without You, so please hear us when we call. Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call.’ 

Ah mih people, we were so serious and sincere that I’m sure heaven heard our call! And do we ever need plenty of heaven’s help to handle the numerous heart-breaking and gut-wrenching problems we have down here on earth. But since it takes two to tango, it means that heaven alone can’t fix our many problems, we also have to be a major part of the solutions, just as we are a major part of the problems. That entails first of all getting ourselves right with God through prayer, repentance and thanksgiving, then LOVING each other as Christ said when He detailed the two greatest commandments. 

‘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. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:37-40) 

And that’s the gospel truth people! Until we start showing a li’l more reverence and LOVE to our great God, and also to our fellow human beings, none of the problems listed above will ever go away. Our world will always be filled with lots of strife, envy, greed, advantage, poverty, sickness, oppression and evil doing; all deeds espoused by our enemy Satan. And it’s not like we don’t know it, because many more of us are suffering from the negative effects of those things than are prospering from them. But it seems like the lure of sin in these disaster-filled times is greater than the appeal of godliness. 

So the majority of us continue to wallow in Satan’s mire of sin and evil, while only a relative handful fight the good fight on God’s behalf. The sad part is that there are many supposed believers who are not doing their part, either through fear or simple apathy, and thus are allowing the enemy to have his way with their lives. But if the billons, or even millions of us who call ourselves Christian were to truly stand up for Christ, get some belly and backbone, and fight the good fight, our world would never be in the shameful, evil state it’s now in. 

Ah friends, as I keep reminding us, the evil-doers, the iniquity workers are not going to improve our world because they have a vested interest in seeing it fall apart and sink into the devil’s quicksand. It’s only through us supposed believers that our world will ever get a chance to improve. Our generation has already made a mess of it, we can’t allow things to get any worse, otherwise our descendants will certainly end up living in a veritable hell right here on earth. If you think it’s bad now, just wait and see. 

In any case, many of us won’t be around to experience it, we might just be experiencing the real thing, like Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar, found in Luke 16:19-31. While here on earth the rich man enjoyed the good life but Lazarus sat poverty-stricken at the rich man’s gate. However, in the after-life, the rich man is in hell feeling the heat, begging Abraham to send Lazarus, now up in heaven, to dip his finger in some water and wet his tongue. But Abraham informs him that there is a great chasm or gulf between the two worlds, so no one can get from one place to the other. 

Then the rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to his five brothers, for maybe they would listen to one who rose from the dead and change their ways. But Abraham also nixed that request telling him that they have Moses and the prophets and if they would not listen to them, then they wouldn’t listen to one who rose from the dead either. 

My friends, that story ought to give us pause for thought. It came from Jesus’ lips, and He doesn’t make jokes over serious stuff. So, I would strongly advise that we all take it seriously and closely look at our lives in light of that tragic tale. It certainly can’t do us any harm, but it might just do us all a lot of good in the long run. Much LOVE!

…stand up, stand up for Jesus…the trumpet sound obey…till every foe is vanquished…and Christ is Lord indeed… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   21 August 2022   1 John 4:18.

1 John 4:18.        There is no fear in LOVE; but perfect LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath (involves) torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in LOVE.

It’s Sunday once again my people! That means it’s gathering time. Gathering time to celebrate the Lord’s Day with praise and worship, with thanksgiving and joy in the fellowshipping of His people. Sunday is always such a great day, because it’s the day we get serious and come together to sing and dance before the Lord, with spiritual joy, like Bruh David did when he brought the ark of the Covenant home to Jerusalem. (smile) Yes friends, the Good Book tells us: ‘And David danced before the Lord with all his might, and David was girded with a linen ephod (an apron worn by the high priest in sacred Hebrew rites).’  (2 Sam. 6:14-22) 

And we’re going to open that singing and dancing today with a fairly new worship song, one written in this 21st century, and made popular by the American Gospel Artist, Tasha Cobbs. It’s aptly titled ‘ No longer a Slave to Fear.’  And that’s how we should definitely be thinking of and seeing ourselves. No longer enslaved by the enemy’s hold of sin and fear, but now, thankfully servants and children of God. So let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise, in a soulful, mid-tempo version of the song. And please, please, let’s sing it like we really mean it nuh. 

In loud, harmonious voice, let’s open with the chorus a couple of times. ‘(Chorus: I’m no longer a slave to fear, For I am a child of God (2) You unravel me, with a melody, You surround me with a song, Of deliverance, from my enemies, Till all my fears are gone. (Chorus: I’m no longer, a slave to fear, For I am a child of God (2) From my mother’s womb, You have chosen me, Your LOVE has called my name, I’ve been born again, Into your family, Your blood flows through my veins. (Chorus: I’m no longer, a slave to fear, For I am, a child of God (2) 

Oh oh, oh oh oh. Oh oh, oh oh oh! You split the sea, So I could walk right through, My fears are drowned, In perfect LOVE, You rescued me, so I could stand and sing, I am a child of God …You split the sea, So I could walk right through it, My fears are drowned, In perfect LOVE, You rescued me, so I could stand and sing, I am a child of God, I am a child of God, I am a child of God…. I know who I am, I know who I am, I am a child of God! He calls me the head and not the tail, Above and not beneath, a lender and not a borrower. So I no longer walk in fear, but in faith. For I am a child of God. If you are a child of God, sing Hallelujah to His glorious name!’  

Oh my fellow believers, if in these perilous and fearful times we don’t know who we are, then we’re in real bad shape! For it’s only if you’re a child of God that you have any hope of a glorious future. As we’ve been saying the last couple of days, the essence of fear is raging all through our world. The powers that be are using fear to bring us to our knees so we can do their evil work. They are using every tactic associated with fear to try and trap us. But they don’t know that we are smarter than them, and we have a High Priest and Advocate named Jesus, who has given us a spirit of power, of LOVE and of a sound (disciplined) mind to counteract their spirit of fear. (2 Tim, 1:7) 

And Jesus clearly promised that in Acts 1:8, when He told the disciples: ‘But ye shall receive power, after that (when) the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ And we know that the Holy Ghost first came upon the believers on the Day of Pentecost, some fifty days after Jesus ascended to heaven, when they turned Jerusalem upside down with their message and acts of faith. Read all about it in Acts chapter 2. And since then, the Holy Spirit has been indwelling every believer with His power and drive and discipleship for Jesus, drastically cutting into the enemy’s hold over our lives! 

And throughout the song we see references to moments when fear was heavy upon God’s people, but He delivered them through His omnipotent power; with ‘songs of deliverance from their enemies.’ There are several psalms which attest to that, like in Psalm 125, where it’s declared: ‘As the mountains are round about (surround) Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about (surrounds) his people from henceforth even for ever. For the rod of the wicked (sceptre of wickedness) shall not rest upon the lot of (land allotted to) the righteous; lest the righteous put (reach) forth their hands into iniquity.’ (Ps. 125:2-3) 

And Psalm 126 faithfully declares: ‘The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity (bring back our captives), O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.’ (Ps. 126:3-5) Then the song alludes to one of the times of greatest fear of God’s people: ‘You split the sea, So I could walk right through, My fears are drowned…’ 

Yes friends that’s when the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt were on the brink of the Red Sea with Pharaoh and His mighty Egyptian army right behind them. There seemed no way for them to escape, but in God’s might and faithfulness, He made a way, by splitting the sea so they could walk through on dry land, then drowned Pharoah and his army when they came after them. And you can read all about that in Exodus 14. 

But this is my favourite part: ‘In perfect LOVE, You rescued me, so I could stand and sing, I am a child of God…’ And what does the Good Book say about perfect LOVE? John says in his first epistle: ‘There is no fear in LOVE; but perfect LOVE casteth out fear: because fear hath (involves) torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in LOVE.’ (1 John 4:18) 

Now, the scholars explain ‘Fear hath torment,’ by saying: ‘Abject fear of God is based on dread of punishment. But God’s LOVE for us renders such dread obsolete. Fear is still a part of the Christian walk in the sense of profound reverence, the unwillingness to violate God’s trust in us. Believers need not fear eternal rejection as a result of God’s judgement (John 5:24), but this does not mean a Christian’s approach to God is to be flippant and casual.’ 

So there is no need to fear if we are sincere believers in Christ Jesus, but we must have sincere reverence for the Lord’s power, position and sovereignty over our lives and the entire universe He created. And since we now know who we are, children of God, above and not beneath, lenders and not borrowers, no longer walking in fear but in faith, let’s go home very appropriately singing ‘Hallelujah to God’s glorious name!’  Yes, shout it out my people: ‘Hallelujah to God’s glorious name!’ Much LOVE!

…nothing but faith in Christ Jesus…casts out fear… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   3 July 2022   1 Peter 5:7.

1 Peter 5:7.      Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

It’s come around again friends, the Lord’s Day, that marvellous day called Sunday, where we gather to praise, worship and renew our commitment to Almighty God and receive His awesome renewal of strength and perseverance to face the upcoming week! Wow! No wonder Sunday is indeed the first and best day of the week! Glory Hallelujah! 

And to celebrate today’s praise and worship, we are going to sing a fairly recent composition, written in the mid twentieth century by John Willard Peterson (1921-2006). It’s a song that I truly wish so many more of us would take to heart and sincerely accept by putting its sentiments into action. The song is very appropriately titled: ‘No One understands like Jesus!’ And if that isn’t the gospel truth, then I don’t what is. 

Now here is a li’l background on how the song came about, which I think will endear it to us even more. It seems that Mr. Peterson, the author was at one time employed by a prestigious gospel ministry and was led to believe that an open supervisory position would be offered to him. And according to Mr. Peterson: ‘I was thrilled and challenged by the prospect of a new joy. But I was by-passed, and a man from the outside was brought in to fill the position. There followed days of agonizing heart searching. It was all I could do to keep from becoming bitter.’ 

I guess many of us would react the same way. However, matters got worse when the new supervisor made some hurtful remarks to Mr. Peterson. And he says: ‘Later that evening, after returning home, I was sitting in our living room thinking about the events of the past days and about the bitter experiences of that evening. I began to feel very alone and forsaken. Suddenly, I sensed the presence of the Lord in an unusual way and my mind was diverted from my difficulties to His faithfulness and sufficiency. Soon the thought occurred to me that He fully understood and sympathized with my situation–in fact, no one could ever completely understand or care as did He.’ 

Words of awesome truth my fellow believers!  And soon after that He began to write the song. ‘Discouragement gripped him. He felt alone and forsaken, and was tempted to become bitter, until he began thinking about the great compassion of the Lord. Who cares? HE does!’ Now let’s sing this marvellous, empathetic song in a soulful, mid-tempo, heart-felt version, opening our mouths and hearts, offering up sincere sacrifices of praise to our amazing Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 

As one sweet sounding, harmonious choir: ‘No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare; Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him!) No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels; Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals. (Chorus) No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail; You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail! (Chorus) 

No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way; Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today. (Chorus: No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him!  No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim; No one is so near, so dear as Jesus– Cast your ev’ry care on Him! Cast your every care on Him, Cause no one understands like Jesus.’ 

Oh my people, there is no one in this world who understand like Jesus! Why, you ask?  Because on His earthly sojourn, He underwent, He experienced the trials, temptations and tribulation that mankind suffers every day on this evil and ungodly earth. So, He can indeed empathize with the stuff that we are forced to bear. And when He faced His storms and troubled times, He went to His Father for strength and encouragement, just like He now expects us, His followers to come to Him for compassion and understanding when we are beset by troubles that test our souls and faith. 

And we all know the basic scriptures on which the song is based, beginning with this awesome advice from Psalm 55 – A cry against deceitful friends. Bruh David writes from personal experience: ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer (permit, allow) the righteous to be moved (shaken).’ (Ps. 55:22) Yes my fellow believers, if we cast our burdens on the Lord, He will never allow the enemy to overcome us! And in Psalm 37 – The true state of the wicked – Bruh David again wisely advises us to: ‘Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.’ (Ps. 37:5) 

Now if that isn’t sufficient proof for you, (smile) then listen to Peter, another recipient of Jesus’ great grace and mercy. He advises us to: ‘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) 

Now none of those scriptures could be more explicit than they are. It’s simple: with sincerity and trust, take all your concerns to God, to Christ, who cares ever so deeply for you, otherwise they would not have allowed Jesus’ blood to be shed on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, and then send His Holy Spirit to indwell us, so that He can lead and guide us on the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. 

And I really don’t know what else it will take for us to truly accept that our heavenly Father allowed Christ to die for us because of His deep and abiding LOVE for us nuh. I guess that’s why He gave us free will, so that we could decide to whom we would give our allegiance, to Him or Beelzebub. I can guarantee us one thing though; Satan doesn’t care one iota about us, he only wants us to lose our heavenly destiny and end up with him in Hades, and ultimately in the lake of fire. So, it’s a decision each one of us must make. 

And in closing, let’s remind us that we ought to make the wise choice, choosing life, BEFORE the Lord takes us home, or Jesus comes back the second time, and either scenario could occur at any time. So, the best time to do it is RIGHT NOW! That’s the long and short of the story my people! Much LOVE!

…the wise money is always on Christ…because He first defeated Satan in heaven…and again here on earth…Satan is a loser… why turn to him…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   15 May 2022 Mark 4:39.

Mark 4:39.      He arose, and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still. And the wind  ceased, and there was a great calm.

Come one, come all friends, on this the Lord’s Day, let’s get together and worship His Holy Name in sincerity and truth! Be it physically in the sanctuary or technologically from home, our location doesn’t matter because praise and worship of Almighty God transcends time and space. And so, without further ado, on this beautiful summer Sunday, let’s get down to worship with a beautiful gospel song from down South. And I don’t care if you call me prejudiced, I will always maintain that the best gospel music comes from the West Indies. (smile) 

And to prove the point, today’s song is a reworked secular chutney soca hit of Miss Denise Plummer, once upon a time the high priestess of soca, who turned her eyes and heart to Christ and began singing gospel music. The song was originally called ‘Na Leaving,’ which celebrated all the good things of T&T, that those who were leaving would miss. From the first time I heard it, it became one of my favourite soca songs, and not only for the lyrics, but also for the beautiful meshing of the African and East Indian riddims that we call chutney soca. 

Then when a friend sent me a copy of this reworked favourite with gospel lyrics, I was blown away, and just had to sing it. So, let’s do so again right now nuh. Let’s allow the riddim to take us away, to work up in our souls, as we sincerely raise our voices in sacrificial praise and mouth the beautiful, true lyrics. 

And after the first couple of bars of rocking chutney soca music, we shout out: ‘Jesus…Yahweh…Yeshua… Jahovah! From revelry to righteousness…Cyar leave Him. From hell-bound to holiness…Cyar leave Him. From sin to salvation…Cyar leave him. A kingdom destination…Cyar leave Him. There I was, in my glee, wallowing deep in a pig pen, full of life, but so empty, on my way to a fiery end. 

But someone told me about a Saviour, who said He LOVES me and He cares. In times of storm He is my shelter, so in His arms you’ll find me there. Yuh see ah cyar live life without Him, He is my King of Kings, He’s the reason I’m still living. Ah cyar leave Him…ah cyar leave Him. Never condemn or forsaken me dread…Ah cyar leave Him…ah cyar leave Him. For God man I living, For God I go dead. 

There are so few, who made it through, and come from the darkness of this world. But I saw the light, I found the truth. I have more than silver, more than gold. I gave my life over to Jesus, the greatest decision I’ve made. Boy I recommend you try Him, Jesus is the best upgrade. He came to earth and died on the cross, rose up just like a boss, when yuh see me smiling, He’s the cause. Ah cyar leave Him…ah cyar leave Him. Never condemn or forsaken me dread…Ah cyar leave Him…ah cyar leave Him. 

For God man I living, For God I go dead. I am under the rock. The rock is higher than I. Jahovah hides me. I am under the rock. Go tell my enemies, that I am under the rock. Jahovah hides me, I am under the rock. I am under the rock. The rock is higher than I. Jahovah hides me. I am under the rock. Go tell my enemies, that I am under the rock. Jahovah hides me, I am under the rock. 

From revelry to righteousness…Cyar leave Him. From hell-bound to holiness…Cyar leave Him. From sin to salvation…Cyar leave him. A kingdom destination…Cyar leave Him. Jesus…Yahweh…Yeshua… Jahovah! (And we shout again) Jesus…Yahweh…Yeshua… Jahovah!’  

Ah mih people, that was fantastic…and all heaven was rocking with us too! Because the music was so sweet, (smile) and they know that’s the kind of difference, the amazing transformation Jesus brings about in our lives when we surrender our all to Him! And yuh better believe that Denise’s words are the gospel truth! Once we get with Jesus, we just cyar leave Him. It’s impossible to leave Him! 

How yuh go do that eh, when He takes you from ‘revelry to righteousness, from hell-bound to holiness, from sin to salvation, from wallowing in a pig pen, heading for a fiery end,’ and took you out of the darkness and showed you the bright light of His awesome LOVE and compassion? Anyone who even thinks about leaving Jesus after all of that is not only a fool, but extremely crazy. Who else could be your successful shelter in the time of storm eh? Nobody! 

Because Jesus Himself controls the wind and the waves. And He proved that out on the sea of Galilee when a storm was kicking up an unholy ruckus and the disciples were scared to death, but Jesus was quietly asleep in the stern of the boast despite all the confusion around Him. And when the disciples woke Him, ‘He arose, and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.’ Then He chided the disciples: ‘Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?’ (Mark 4:39-40) 

And it’s certain sure that when you find Jesus, you see the light and find the truth, because He is the way, the truth, the life, the light…and everything else that’s good and wonderful! That’s why Denise says, ‘He’s the best upgrade.’ No friends, you can’t get any better than Jesus in this universe. That’s why after giving His life for us on the cross, He could also rise up ‘like a boss’ from the grave, having defeated Satan and his hellish dominion on their own turf. 

Oh my people, giving your life over to Jesus is the best decision you could ever make, because then you become a child of God, a joint heir with Christ and thus entitled to all the benefits of heaven! Wow! What more can we ask eh? Absolutely nothing! And when yuh enemies looking for you, you can boast and make style on them because they can’t touch you, since you’re hiding under the rock of Jahovah, the rock that’s higher than you. Mama Yo! 

I don’t know what else to say nuh mih bredrin, except to invite you to come and hide under the rock with me, because when you put your safety and security in Jesus hands, He most definitely won’t allow your enemies to touch you. Because He’s the boss, the rock, the mighty conqueror, and the reason we still living! Much LOVE!

…on Christ the solid rock I stand…all else is simply sinking sand… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   27 March 2022 Mark 10:15.

Mark 10:15.      Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

And sadly friends, I must inform you, that on this the Lord’s day, some of heaven’s white precipitate, has precipitated down to earth! (smile) Yes, there’s a light covering of snow on the ground this Sunday morning that began sometime after six thirty, because I looked outside at that time and the place was clean. But now, a couple hours later, it’s white. And who knows what will eventually happen, although the good news is that a short while ago, I saw the sun valiantly shining through up in the eastern skies. So anything is still possible. 

And as we gather for worship, either physically in the Lord’s sanctuary, or by some electronic means, let’s banish all anxiety and worry from our souls and spirits, because the Creator of the universe and all therein dwells within us, through the power of His Holy Spirit and has unlimited compassion and LOVE for us. That’s why we’ll open today’s proceedings with this marvellous and very popular Christian hymn written by American hymnwriter and novelist Anna B. Warner, around 1859, that demonstrates that amazing LOVE. It’s aptly titled ‘JESUS LOVES ME!’ 

Wow! What an honour and a privilege to be LOVED by the Creator and Saviour of the world! So let’s cut the talk and offer up our sacrifices of praise in a joyful, soulful, heartfelt, up-tempo version, letting all earth and heaven know that we are truly blessed by, and are sincerely grateful for the LOVE of Christ!  

Altogether now: ‘Jesus LOVES me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong. (Refrain: Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! The Bible tells me so.) Jesus LOVES me! This I know, As He LOVED so long ago, Taking children on His knee, Saying, “Let them come to Me.” (Ref ) – Jesus LOVES me still today, Walking with me on my way, Wanting as a friend to give Light and LOVE to all who live. – (Ref.) 

Jesus LOVES me! He who died Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in. –  (Ref.) Jesus LOVES me! He will stay Close beside me all the way; Thou hast bled and died for me, I will henceforth live for Thee. (Ref.) Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! For the Bible tells me so.’ 

And friends, if we can’t believe the Bible, the unalterable truth of God’s Word, then I don’t know what we can believe nuh! And according to the website Godtube: ‘The Bible tells us that God LOVES each and every one of us, despite our sins and faults. Be comforted by the simple lyrics of ‘JESUS LOVES ME’ and remember that our Creator is Almighty and ALL-LOVING. He is with us each step of the day and will never leave our side. We may be weak, but He is our strength.’ 

Oh my Christian brethren, that’s the gospel truth, and we need to believe it so badly in these tough and very trying times, if we are to live a successful life in and for Christ! And we do need to come to Jesus like little children in total trust and faith if we want to receive His grace and mercy. Remember His comparisons to the kingdom of heaven and children? 

When talking about greatness to the disciples, the Good Book tells us: ‘And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such child in my name, receiveth me.’ (Matt. 18:2-5) That tells us in no uncertain terms that if we want to be great in God’s kingdom, we have to be humble and trusting like a young child, not the way the world considers greatness, with arrogance and self-importance. 

Then there’s this testimony from the gospel of Mark, where parents brought their children to be blessed by Jesus, but the disciples rebuked and turned them away. ‘But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer (allow) the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them. And blessed them.’ (Mark 10:14-16) 

Wow mih people! Hearing that, how can you not be enamoured of Jesus eh?  And I want to share two very interesting explanations of the scholars on those verses. As per 10:14, they say ‘Mark often stresses Jesus showing of strong feeling.’ Now that’s the attitude of a truly caring person. And they cite these references for that conclusion. (1;41, 43; 3:5; 7:34; 8:34; 9:19). Then for 10:16, they write. ‘Every parent knows that no child is perfect. But Jesus sees their refreshing openness to new things, their eagerness to learn and follow, a welcome contrast to adult self-dependence and cynicism.’ 

And that hit’s the nail right on the very head! You can’t accept Jesus unless you’re open and eager to learn. And all Jesus desires to teach us is based on the principle of LOVE – LOVE for God, for oneself and for one’s neighbour, as He emphasizes in Matt. 22:37-40, when asked about the greatest commandments. Now, listen to how Bruh Paul puts it all together when he writes to the Ephesians re a prayer for inner growth. 

He asks that God, ‘the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named (from whom the Christian spiritual life is derived). That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye be rooted and grounded in LOVE, May be able to comprehend (understand) with all the saints what is the breadth (width), and length, and depth, and height, And to know the LOVE of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.’ (Eph. 3:14-19) 

Yes my fellow saints, Bruh Paul prays there that we would be divinely enabled to live a successful Christian life filled with the virtues and character of God, and truly come to know and understand all the various aspects of Christ’s magnificent and unmatchable LOVE! Then he ends by stating: ‘Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church of Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.’ (Eph. 3:20-21) 

And yes friends, Bruh Paul knew that the Lord God Jehovah had the power and interest to do all that He asked for in the Ephesian church. Now, the important question is, do we truly believe that God can do those same things in our lives today? And until we do, we will not be able to live the successful Christian life that Christ sacrificed Himself for us to have. As they say, a word to the wise is sufficient. Much LOVE!

…to come to Christ…one must possess a child-like spirit… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   30 January 2022   2 Corinthians 12:10b.

2 Corinthians 12:10b.     …for when I am weak, then I am strong.

It’s the Lord’s Day friends – Sunday…with bright sunshine too! (smile) That means it’s time to gather for worship, to give thanks and praise and receive rejuvenation and encouragement for next week’s duties. And the days are not getting any easier, especially since we now have a new variant of the Omicron variant in the pandemic business. But, with God’s help and our wise and responsible behaviour, we will fight this virus right down to the end and come out victorious! 

That’s our God’s promise, if we revere and stay close to Him. That’s why today’s song of praise is ever so important. You can tell that just from its title: ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee.’ Oh friends, in these dark and dangerous times it’s ever so necessary to get as close to God as possible, because it’s only through Him that we can ever hope to be righteous conquerors. 

‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’ is a traditional gospel song, that most likely dates from way back when the African Americans were suffering significant adversity in the Southern States of the U.S.A. It’s been performed and recorded by numerous artists, and the fact that it’s stood the test of time, and is still very appropriate in our current adversity, says a great deal about its spiritual strength and reassurance. 

So let’s sing a rich, up-tempo gospel version, with plenty background vocals, clapping and riddim instruments, like they possibly did down in those Southern African American churches, when times were really rough, and Jesus was the ONLY positive option they had. 

Therefore, with that same assurance, let’s raise our voices in sweet and sincere sacrificial praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. ‘I am weak but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee. (Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.) Thro’ this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee. 

[Refrain]When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore. (Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be…One more time my people… Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be…’ 

Now let’s hope that we were truly sincere in our praise, because, as I said earlier, we desperately need to walk with Jesus in these calamitous times, if we want to not only survive them, but even more importantly thrive in them. Yes, my brethren, Jesus can cause us to thrive even in the midst of serious adversity. But we have to come alongside Him in total faith and surrender ourselves completely to His will. 

And on a point of interest, the website, informs us that, ‘In this song we acknowledge our human inability to live righteously, but we also express awareness of the grace and strength that God gives us in our daily walk. Even such an esteemed saint as the apostle Paul acknowledged his need for this grace:’ 

And when was that you ask? When he asked the Lord three times to remove the thorn from his side. ‘And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (weaknesses), that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Cor. 12:8-10) 

Ah my fellow believers, the same thing applies to us; when we think we are weak, because we cannot do something in our own strength, that’s when we are really strong because the grace and power of God will step in in our weakness and anoint us to do His will. Glory be! 

There’s also this most applicable verse: ‘And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect (blameless).’ (Gen. 17:1) So friends, if the father of our faith was required to walk with the Lord, it’s obvious that we are also required to do the same, and in all seriousness too. 

Then we are told that the title and lyrics of today’s song, ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee,’ allude to the famous passage from 2 Corinthians 5:7, which reads: ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’ And that’s the gospel truth! Christians walk by faith, by what they see and believe in their hearts, not what they see with their eyes. 

And Bruh Paul specified this more clearly when he said to the church at Rome. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) wait for it.’ (Rom. 8:24-25) More indisputable truth my fellow saints! And the title and lyrics of our song, also allude to this critical passage from James. ‘Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you…’ (James 4:8a). 

Now that was nothing new, for long before that, there was this warning from the prophet Azariah: ‘And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him: and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.’ (2 Chr. 15:1-2) 

Oh my people, that’s the same message that’s been sent to us today, loud and clear! If we seek God, we will find Him. But if we don’t, He won’t bother with us, either and allow us to go our own foolish way, like we’re currently doing. I don’t know what it will take for us to wake up and realize that He is our only hope. But I sincerely hope and pray, that for our sake, and that of our children…and their children, that we wake up soon and sincerely seek Him, before it all falls apart! 

So please, let’s go to God nuh, as we’ve been so wisely advised, walk with Him and cling to Him as closely as possible, because in Him lies all of our hope for a better tomorrow, as well as today! Much LOVE!

…clinging to our Creator for dear life…doesn’t require much wisdom…just basic common sense…   

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 November 2021 Luke 18:1.

Luke 18:1.      And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).

Well, well mih bredrin, can you believe it’s Sunday already? The last seven days have indeed passed quickly, but it’s all to the good, because we get another chance to gather on the Lord’s Day to praise, worship and give Him thanks, while He refreshes our souls and spirits, rebuilds our faith, and strengthens us to go back out and face the evil, ungodly world in the upcoming week. All praise and honour be to His holy name my people, for He richly deserves it! 

So let’s get the show on the road with our opening song, one most appropriately titled ‘God Answers Prayer,’ and sung by the Washington born young lady of Jamaican heritage, who originally went by the name of Lady Flame, but is now known as Da Flame. And as always, in scintillating, harmonious, heartfelt, soulful voice let’s raise our sacrificial praise to high heaven. 

‘Oh, If you’re ever feeling down and like you have nowhere to go. If you’re feeling like an outcast as your problems overflow, just remember there is someone, and all it takes is for you to know, is that God is the answer, and God answers prayer. (Chorus: He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer) 

You may be broken and feel battered, but your strength will surely come, in the midst of all your heartache. Your battles are already won. Just remember in the hard times, don’t give up, don’t say you’re done, because God is the answer, and God answers prayer. (He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer. 

Oh, He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. So let’s get down on our knees, and say, Saviour, help us please. Because one thing is for certain…our God answers prayer. Yes, let’s get down on our knees, and say, Saviour, help us please. Because one thing is for certain…our God answers prayer.’ And of that we are very sure my faithful brethren! Our great and good God answers prayer all the time, otherwise so many of us wouldn’t still be believers. 

And all God’s people said a loud and grateful ‘Amen!’ Now, if we are wise, we will do exactly as the song says, take all our problems, needs and wants to God in prayer. Hopefully, He will answer most of those that fall within His will and plan for our lives, but we will never know until we try. And there are so many scriptures that extol the power of prayer that I don’t know which ones to choose. So, let’s turn to the Lord in prayer and ask Him which ones He favours today. (smile) 

And the first one He directed me came from His wonderful Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Good Book tells us: ‘And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).’ (Luke 18:1) And that’s something Jesus did daily. Although He was the Son of God, He did not do anything without first consulting the Father. He still needed the Father’s help and guidance down here on earth. Jesus began His day with prayer. The scriptures record it thus. ‘And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary (deserted) place, and there prayed.’ (Mark 1:35) 

So let me ask us this nuh mih people, if the Son of God made prayer an important part of His life, who are we, a sinful creation to do otherwise eh? Nothing but a bunch of proud, arrogant and foolish men! Jesus Himself preached in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matt. 7:7-8) 

And the scholars wisely inform us that ‘Prayer includes asking and getting answers from God. But it is more than just asking; it is confession, adoration, thanksgiving, and fellowship with God. By its nature, prayer is talking with God. It is the basis of the successful Christian life, and is so important that not praying is considered a sin (1 Sam. 12:23). When we pray, we should follow the model prayer Jesus gave His disciples and address it to our heavenly Father – beginning with adoration, including thanksgiving and confession of sins, making reconciliation with others, praying for our needs and the needs of others, and concluding in Jesus’ name.’ 

Yes friends, that’s how we ought to pray. And the model prayer referred to above is obviously what we now call the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ found in Matt. 6:9-15) And the part about ending in Jesus’ name comes from John 14:13-14, where He told the disciples: ‘And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.’ That means acting as Jesus’ agent or ambassador, doing stuff to uplift His name and church, not merely for our selfish worldly desires. 

And by the way, here’s that verse from Samuel which the scholars claim that not praying is sin. In asking Israel to serve God, Samuel said to them: ‘Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.’ (1 Sam. 12:23) And the scholars explain: ‘12:23. Despite Israel’s sin, Samuel LOVED Israel and Saul and pledged his continued help, especially in praying for them and teaching them the Lord’s standards.’ So friends, you see that not praying is not a good thing. (smile) 

Now let’s wrap up with a couple of popular scriptures on prayer that we all know but don’t practice enough. Jeremiah said on the Lord’s behalf: ‘Then shall ye call upon me, and you 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. 29:12-13) Now that’s a very important condition of prayer friends, seeking the Lord with all our heart, sincerely calling upon Him. For remember He checks our hearts before He makes any response to see if our motives are right. 

And we’ll end with this popular and all-inclusive scripture from Bruh Paul’s epistle to the church at Philippi. ‘Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:6-7) And that’s my prayer for all of this Sunday morning my faithful brethren. Much LOVE!

…pray…without ceasing… (1 Thess. 5:17)                                                                                                                         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   10 October 2021 Matthew 25:13.

Matthew 25:13.     Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

One more time friends, one more time, to celebrate the Lord’s day with praise and worship! It doesn’t matter how or where, because prayer and praise are spiritually lifted up to our heavenly Father. So our physical positions are not all that important, be it in the sanctuary together, or home alone, joined by technology. The most important thing then, is that we agree on our purpose for coming together; that is to give the Lord thanks and praise for His wonderful kindness to the children of men. 

And as always, we begin our proceedings with a song of praise. Today’s song is a favourite old Christian ditty that has provided yeoman’s service to believers down through the years, and has been a useful tool for teaching children about Christ. It’s titled ‘Give Me Oil in My Lamp.’ I don’t know who wrote it, but it sure gets my spirit going, makes me want to offer up sacrificial praise. So let’s sing it from the heart nuh, in a bright, up-tempo riddim, because it’s a song of joy and reassurance. 

‘Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Give me oil in my lamp, I pray. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Keep me 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!) Give me love in my heart, keep me sharing. Give me love in my heart, I pray. Give me love in my heart, keep me sharing. Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain) 

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Give me joy in my heart, I pray. Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Keep me singing till the break of day. (Refrain) Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying. Give me faith in my heart, I pray. Give me faith in my heart, 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!).’ 

Awright friends, that was awesome! You could feel it coming straight from our hearts! And it had to be good, when all of heaven joined in the singing and dancing with us. (smile) They say it’s based on, or alludes to the parable of the ten virgins going to the bridal feast that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:1-13. Five were wise and five were foolish. The first ones took extra oil, just in case the bridegroom was late, but the latter five took none. 

So, as is often the case, the bridegroom was late and the lamps of the last five ran out of oil, and obviously the wise five refused to share theirs. That meant the foolish five had to go and get oil for their lamps, but by the time they returned, the bridegroom had come and the doors were closed and they were refused entry. And the corollary to all that were these simple words from Jesus. ‘Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.’ (Matt. 25:13) 

Yes my people, it’s a serious warning that we are to be on constant watch for the bridegroom of the church – Jesus Christ, for He can come at any time. And if He doesn’t find us ready and waiting to come to the bridal feast, then we’ll be left out of all the festivities, headed for eternal separation from the bridegroom, the Saviour. And I can’t emphasize strongly enough how sad such a fate will be. It therefore behooves us to get our act together, right now, to get extra oil for our lamps, that we can wait in the light and not in darkness, and be there ready and waiting, full of joy when our Saviour returns, as He has faithfully promised to do. 

And I like how Jerry L. Ogles, the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Orthodox Church Worldwide Communion, breaks down the verses in an article on their website. For instance, re the first verse, ‘Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning…’ he says: ‘Certainly, we must ask for the right fuel to light our lamps. Lamps filled with water will avail nothing – it must be the kind of oil that BURNS. 

That oil, to the Christian, is the Holy Spirit. He, the Holy Spirit, is like that oil of the widow woman in 1 Kings 17 whose oil and meal never ran out. We need light for our path, and we have no light if we have no Spirit to guide our feet. Our Lamps must not only contain oil for fuel, but be lit with the fire of faith. The break of day comes with the Sun of Righteousness rising for our final victory in the Lord.’ Glory be my fellow saints! I could not put it any better. 

And per the second verse, ‘Give me LOVE in my heart, keep me sharing…’ he comments thus: ‘The legs by which the Holy Spirit moves in our hearts are those of LOVE. LOVE is the most invincible force known on earth. In fact, Paul tells us that there is one thing that survives death complete, and that is LOVE. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (KJV) 

There is only one kind of truly pure LOVE, and that is of God. LOVE unshared dies in the vessel – we must give it out and see how wonderfully it replenishes itself.’ Mama, oh Mama! Isn’t that the gospel truth! There is nothing that replenishes itself like LOVE! 

Then for the third verse, ‘Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing…’ he declares (steups!): ‘One characteristic that distinguishes the Christian from the common of humanity is JOY expressed under every hardship and trial. This mystifies the world, and they cannot comprehend it. Joy comes through LOVE and prayer. One language of joy is that of song. In my most sorrowful moments, I may sing an old hymn of the Church and suddenly, even without realizing it, find myself as happy as can be in a personal revival of the soul. I never see tears in the eye of the singer of hymns unless they are formed in joy.’ That’s ever so true! 

And for the fourth verse, ‘Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying…’ he explains: ‘Though a child’s song, there is strong doctrinal perspective expressed. Faith is a gift of grace from God. It is the engendering nurture of the Holy Spirit that draws us ever closer to our Lord and inspires our Godly actions and thoughts. Faith is given by God. He sustains our physical being as well as our spiritual souls. We do not dictate the rate our hearts beat any more than we, through our own good intentions, cause our faith to build. 

The Light of Christ is a shared Light from Him. If our lamps are extinguished by winds of doubt, we may share a light from another; however, the original fire comes from God. It is good that our young children are taught the beginning principles of the Gospel through song; and we as adults also benefit in the same way from the singing of the biblical and classical hymns of the Church.’ 

More gospel truth friends. And I do hope that as we enjoy our Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend, we will indeed spend some time pondering on the Lord’s Word and His awesome goodness to our undeserving souls, and give real and sincere thanks for all the wonderful things we enjoy in this good land of Canada! Much LOVE!

…a heart filled with God…is one filled with joy and thanksgiving…                                                                                                         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 September 2021 Psalm 18:2.

Psalm 18:2.     The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust, my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). 

Oh my fellow believers, once again it’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day! So please, let’s heed the call to worship nuh, be it in the newfound freedom of His sanctuary, (smile) as some of the restrictions of the pandemic have been lifted, or through the miracle of modern technology. But come Sunday, worship is a must! And as always, we begin each Sunday session of worship with a song of praise. 

Today’s song is a favourite Christian hymn authored by the Reverend Augustus Toplady in the latter half of the 18th century. And though there is no evidence to back up what’s since become a legend, the story goes that the Reverend ‘drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. 

Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics. The fissure that is believed to have sheltered Toplady is now marked as the “Rock of Ages”, both on the rock itself and on some maps, and is also reflected in the name of a nearby tea shop.’ By now you must know that today we are singing the definitive Christian hymn ‘Rock of Ages.’ And such a moving and powerful song does need such a miraculous background to help us keep the faith. 

So, let’s sing it in harmony and sincerity, in a soulful, up-tempo riddim, because it’s not a sad song, but one of encouragement and safety, one that brings joy to the human soul and spirit. As one strong voice raised to heaven in sacrificial praise: ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee; let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure. Not the labours of my hands can fulfill thy law’s demands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling; naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Saviour, or I die. Wash me, Saviour or I die. While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee…Let me hide myself in thee…let me hide myself in thee….’ 

And believe me friends, there is no better place to hide in this universe than in Christ Jesus! For He is indeed our refuge and place of safety. Bruh David says it best in Psalm 18 – His prayer of Thanksgiving for deliverance from all his enemies. ‘I will LOVE thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust, my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ (Ps. 18:1-3) 

And that’s exactly what the song ‘Rock of Ages’ is saying to us. Jesus is our strength, our Saviour, the one to whom we can turn in any situation and receive comfort and safety, encouragement and resuscitation. And the website lends a valuable insight into the song. It says: ‘While evidence to support that story (of Reverend Toplady’s adventure) is lacking, it does provide a vivid image through which to understand the hymn. Christ and His redemptive work on the cross are like that cleft in the rock, where we can find shelter from the deluge of sin’s guilt and power.’ 

Wow mih bredrin! What gospel truth that is! And not only Bruh David uses the rock as a metaphor for God; His strength, staying power and comfort, but listen to Moses in his song to the children of Israel. ‘Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine (teaching) shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: because I will publish (proclaim) the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.’ (Deut. 32:1-4) 

And if any human being should know of God’s strength, truth and righteousness it’s surely Moses who had so many miraculous dealings with the Lord! The prophet Isaiah, another great man of God, also described the Lord in rock-like terms. In his hymn of praise, he declares: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on (sustained by) thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (the Rock of Ages).’ (Is. 26:3-4) 

Now friends, if godly men like Moses, Isaiah and Bruh David could consider the Lord as being the Rock of Ages, who are we to say them nay eh? We should be shouting it even louder than them, because we now have Jesus fulfilling the Lord’s promises of safety, succour, refuge and comfort! 

And we’ll close with these uplifting words from the website Godtube, which say: ‘Even when we may feel like we are all alone, remember that God is always by our side and will never abandon us. He is truly our light in the dark and our rock that we can stand upon always. What an amazing feeling to be LOVED by such a kind Father and to give praise to His name with the beautiful hymn ‘Rock Of Ages.’ Hearing the story behind the hymn made this classic song even more powerful. What a way to worship!’ 

Yes my people, it is indeed a wonderful way to worship! So please, let’s allow all the good things we’ve said today to stir us up nuh, to raise the level of our passion for Christ, so that we can do justice to His name and bring glory to the Father as we ought to. Much LOVE!

…to God the Father be the glory…through Jesus Christ, the Son…                                                                                                                          

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