Today’s Scrip-Bit   6 October 2021 Ephesians 5:8.

Ephesians 5:8.     For ye were sometimes (once) darkness, but now ye are light in the Lord: walk as children of light. 

No more rain…And the sun is finally peeking out…Glory! Oh, the dark clouds are not all gone, but there is a great possibility of light, (smile) much more than we’ve had for the past few days. And that’s exactly how our Jesus comes and shines through our personal darkness. When we think that there is no hope, that the darkness will overwhelm us, He shows up unexpectedly with the bright light of His presence and chases the evil darkness away! Give Him some thanks and praise my faithful brethren for He is indeed a Saviour to those whose lives are consumed by the evil enemy. 

As the prophet Isiah so prophetically declared long ago, re the Prince of Peace: ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath a light shined.’ (Is. 9:2) And that’s one of the most potent and prophetic prophecies ever prophesied! (smile) It heralded the coming of Jesus…the light of the world! 

But the sad news is that, as Jesus said: ‘And this is the condemnation that (the) light is come into the world, and men LOVED darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth (practices) evil hateth light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (exposed).’ (John 3:19-20) 

And that’s the gospel truth my people! Those of us with evil deeds in our repertoire hate the light and will refuse to accept Jesus because we are afraid that those evil deeds will be exposed, for that’s what light does; it exposes the darkness, the sin, the evil in our souls! And we are not talking about physical light, but spiritual light, ‘light that shines on our hearts.’ 

I like how this article on thebereancall.org website with a conversation between Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon describes the situation. T. A. McMahon says: ‘And men loved darkness rather than light.  Dave, is this in the statistical manual it talked about earlier? (Referring there to a manual on the power of DNA to operate without words or a language).

Dave Hunt replies: ‘Yeah, they don’t want to know the truth. I would say that whole statistical manual is a witness to this fact; men loved darkness rather than light. Instead of accepting the truth that we are separated from God by sin, that we are rebels in our hearts, that we need to be reconciled to God, we need to recognize that Jesus Christ is God who became a man to die for our sins, paid the penalty for our sins, died for our sins, rose from the dead and we open our hearts to Him and we allow Him to come in and He changes us completely. 

We are born again of the Word of God, Peter says. This Word that brings understanding, the truth that is the light that Jesus brought.  Now, it says they hated me without a cause because the light of Jesus Christ shows up the darkness, the darkness being what? Well, rebellion against God, running to hide from God, not wanting to know the truth and so forth.’ 

Now this passage from an article on the subject on the mtvchurchofchrist.org, further enlightens us. ‘The reason for the world’s LOVE affair with darkness is that it hides sin, or so it is believed. As long as it is dark, as long as there is no light of truth, those in sin can perpetuate their evil. But let one beam of truth pierce the darkness of sin and error, let one ray of goodness break through, and those in darkness scatter like so many roaches exposed to daylight. But the feeling of having hidden sin is only an illusion, for all things are open and naked before God (Heb. 4:13).’ 

And I’ll just insert that verse here. ‘Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight (hidden from his sight): but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (must give account).’ (Heb. 4:13) So, as we well know, there is absolutely no hiding from God, but many of us still foolishly try to retain the illusion. 

The article then continues with this interesting slant. It says: ‘One of the reasons, if not the main reason, those in the world often feel uncomfortable around faithful Christians is that the faithful child of God reminds sinners of their sins. The faithful child of God might well feel uncomfortable around the sinner, as well (Eph. 5:11).’ Oh friends, I surely hope we do feel uncomfortable around evil doers, but nonetheless show them the light of Christ shining through our words and actions. 

And to substantiate all that we’ve said, let’s listen to the words of Bruh Paul to the church at Ephesus on the ways of the believer. ‘Let no man deceive you with vain (empty) words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be ye not partakers with them. For ye were sometimes (once) darkness, but now ye are light in the Lord: walk as children of light. (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (expose) them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.’ (Eph. 5:6-12) 

Yes my brethren, once upon a time we too walked in darkness, but then we saw the light of Christ, and our lives were transformed. And the scholars explain it all thus: ‘5:8. Our knowledge of the truth is attended by moral purity and happiness. 5:10.  Because of constant temptations and solicitations to evil, believers must always be proving or discerning what is and what is not acceptable unto the Lord. 

5:11. Reprove is better translated “expose.” The believer’s duty is expressed here in two ways. Negatively, he is not to have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, that is, not indulge in the sins of the unsaved. Positively, he is to “expose” (reprove) these sins, that is bring them to light and show them for what they really are, so that the unbeliever may see their hideous nature and their terrible consequences. 5:12. For tells why the Christian must expose the sins of the lost. If it is shameful even to discuss their iniquities in decent company how much the worse is the committing of these sins. Hence the need to bring them to light.’ 

Ah my fellow saints, I do hope that all the above has now elucidated and enlightened us about walking in darkness and light, (smile) so that we are now capable of making good decisions on it. Now, for those of us who are sincerely trying to walk in the light, let’s go home declaring (oh yes!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know our wonderful position in Christ Jesus. 

Altogether now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And believe me, if we endure until the very end, then that future will be even more glorious than we ask or imagine. So please, let’s hang in there my faithful brethren! Much LOVE!

…if light brings truth and happiness…why fool with darkness…which only keeps one trapped in sin and rebellion towards God…                                                                                                     

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8          

Today’s Scrip-Bit   23 September 2021 John 8:12.

John 8:12.     I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Oh no friends, it did not clear up nicely in my area yesterday. In fact, it rained all day and during most of the night. But thankfully it seems to have stopped now and the sun is poking it’s bright and beautiful face out through the remaining dark clouds. And that’s how our God, our Jesus works in our lives; when the rain and dark clouds threaten to consume us, if we just keep our hope alive, we will soon see the power and light and LOVE of Jesus begin to shine through all the darkness that threatens to swallow us up without a prayer. 

But we always have a prayer, and when we use it, our Jesus will turn our darkness into light. Yes, He will turn it around with His majestic power and glory. And why do I think that eh? Because I’ve seen him do it numerous times in my life and the lives of others who sincerely believe in Him. And if you know His Word, you will know this major pronouncement He made many years ago while dwelling here on earth. He truthfully declared: ‘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 if you take the leap of faith and trust Him on that matter, then you will see much more light in your life than darkness. For He is faithful that promised! But if you want to see light, the light of Christ, flooding your soul, life and spirit, then you have to take Him up on His promise and lay your burdens at the foot of His cross. And it’s not a promise that was just made in Jesus’ time, but long, long ago, the Lord promised it through the prophet Isaiah, when he prophesied: ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ (Is. 9:2) 

And that light was the promise of Jesus coming to save the world from the sin and darkness that contaminated it. The prophet Malachi also told us about the coming of Light when he declared on the Lord’s behalf: ‘But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall (grow fat like stall fed calves). And ye shall tread (trample) down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.’ (Mal. 4:2-3) 

And the Father kept His promise when He sent Jesus to earth to save our souls from death and eternal separation from Him, by paying the price of our sins on the cross of Calvary and defeating hell, death and the grave when He rose triumphantly from the bowels of hell on that glorious Easter morn some two thousand years ago! Now that momentous occasion birthed the presence of the Light of Jesus in our lives, where, if we accept Him as Lord and Saviour, His Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us, to help dispel the darkness of this world, and we will forever live in His glorious Light! 

As John so eloquently and truthfully says in the beginning of his gospel: ‘All things were made by him (Jesus); and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended (apprehended) it not.’ (John 1:3-5) Yes friends, the darkness of this world cannot comprehend, apprehend or take hold of the Light that’s Jesus Christ! And there are so many important scriptures that deal with light and Jesus being light, that I don’t know what to choose. (smile) So let’s choose a few random ones to refresh our memories. 

Hear Jesus to the Jewish rulers of His time. ‘I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.’ (John 12:46-47) Oh my people, Jesus didn’t come to judge, but to save, so please let’s remember that nuh. 

Now here is this most appropriate scripture, as Jesus says: ‘And this is the condemnation, that (the) light is come into the world, and men LOVED darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth (practices) evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, less his deeds should be reproved (exposed). But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.’ (John 3:19-21) That was true in Jesus’ time, and it’s still true in our time. Evil doers hate the light because they don’t want their evil deeds to be exposed. 

And unfortunately, right now, the evil deeds in our society seem to be outweighing the good and truthful ones, that’s why so many of us are hiding from the light in the darkness. But friends, please remember that the darkness doesn’t hamper the sight of our God, for as Bruh David says in Psalm 139: ‘Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee (is not dark to thee); but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.’ (Ps. 139:12) So friends, trying to hide in the darkness from God is useless, as trying to hide from Him period! 

Then listen to some more useful words on light from the psalms. Bruh David declares in Psalm 18: ‘For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high (haughty) looks. For thou wilt light my candle (lamp): the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through (can run against) a troop; and by my God have I leaped (can leap) over a wall.’ (Ps. 18:27-29) And if that didn’t do anything for you, then listen to this most mighty verse of scripture from Psalm 119: ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ (Ps. 119:105) 

Yes friends, the word of God indeed lights our way as we walk through this dark and sinful world. And if we are wise, we will take it to heart and practice it sincerely as these words of Jesus so wisely advised. ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.’ (John 12:35-36) 

Now that’s the crux of the problem right there my fellow saints; we must be children of light. Jesus was the light of the world while He was here on earth, but after He went back to heaven, He declared that His followers, that’s us, are now the light of the world. (Matt. 5:14) And as Bruh Paul told the Ephesians: ‘For ye were sometimes (once) darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light.’ (Eph. 5:8) Yes, my fellow believers, that’s exactly how we ought to walk in this dark and evil world, ‘as children of light,’ so that we can fulfill Jesus’ desire. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) 

And the wonderful thing about our Lord and Saviour is that He doesn’t just tell us what to do, but He also gives us the wherewithal to do it. Consequently, we have his Word, His Holy Spirit and numerous other tools that we call our Thursday Blessings that enable us to shine brightly in this dark world. So please, let’s declare those blessings now nuh, that we can invoke them in our spirits. 

As one voice: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to, will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and every day! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and shine brightly for Jesus, by sharing those blessings just as generously with others as he shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…to shine brightly for Jesus…in this dark world…that’s the believer’s bounden duty…                                                                                                                         

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8   

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 October 2020 John 8:12.

John 8:12.     ​I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Another wet and dreary day seems to be in the offing. But yuh know, unlike what the Carpenters said in their hit song way back in 1971, it’s not only rainy days and Mondays that get me down, but rainy days period. (smile) It’s just that rainy days seem to have this inherent touch of melancholia in them; just like sunshiny days have a built-in sense of upliftment. You see the sun and spirits automatically lift despite your circumstances. Likewise, you experience the wet and dreary looking weather and your spirits tend to fall somewhat, the attitude of relaxation and laziness also seem to pop up. (smile) You have to actively lift them up again. 

And so it is with this Tuesday morning, after a rather melancholy Monday. But yuh know friends, when you have Jesus as your Guiding Light, the kind of physical day doesn’t really matter, because He Himself is such a wonderful ray of sunshine that just thinking of Him and talking to him automatically lifts you up! Glory to God my people! Jesus Himself revealed His awesome Light. ‘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) 

But unfortunately, the Pharisees disputed His authority because He witnessed to Himself, which to them, invalidated His claim. That however did not change anything, all it meant was that the Pharisees would remain on the outside looking in; stubborn, like the head-butting goats they were. (smile) As Jesus’ reply indicated. ‘Though I bear record (witness) of myself, yet my record (witness) is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.’ (John 8:14) 

Now here is an interesting explanation on Jesus being the light of the world from the www.biblestudytools.com website. ‘Jesus saying He is the Light of the world is the outer recognition of His Father’s creation and presence, and the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit, by which we know our Father and walk with Jesus. Jesus is the Light of the world, our world, and in the world. Like God is omnipresent, so Jesus is Light.’ Ah friends, what a wonderful depiction of Jesus; His light just shining everywhere, being the ever-present reality, our invaluable and unbreakable connection to the Father! 

And it’s obvious that the Pharisees, supposedly the most learned scriptural group back then, didn’t know or understand the true meaning of the scriptures, or were simply being egotistical and guarding their earthly power, for Isaiah said it loud and clear. ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ (Is. 9:2) 

The prophet Malachi also told us about the bright Light that would come. ‘But unto you that fear my name shall the SUN of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall (grow fat like stall fed calves).’ (Mal. 4:2) 

Now if the Pharisees were so wise or knowledgeable of the scriptures, they would have put two and two together and come up with four and not three, especially since Jesus was healing people like crazy, something they’d never seen before. Or, possibly, as I said earlier, they did come up with four, but were wary of losing their upper crust position if they acknowledged Jesus for whom He really was. 

One stumbling block for the whole Jewish society though, seemed to be the thinking that the Messiah would be this great warrior king who would come and through war-like means, free them from the Roman atrocities, not a gentle, meek, peaceful Rabbi with LOVE as the basis of His testimony. And no doubt we have also been influenced by what or whom we believe Jesus to be in our lives, not what He truly is, and thus have erred in our direction, belief and behaviour, just like the Pharisees did. 

That can clearly be seen in all the different religions and denominations, doctrines, beliefs and behaviour held under the same great umbrella called Christianity. Thus the great disunity amongst Christ’s supposed followers. And thus, the lack of substantial testimony from us on Jesus declaration. ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ 

Yes friends, when Jesus returned to heaven, He designated us as His replacement for light in this ungodly world. But have we done that? Not to the extent that we should have, for there are still too many unbelievers out there, who have never heard about Jesus, or heard about Him and refused to believe because of our dark, unlit testimony. 

So my people, this dark and cloudy morning, please let’s remember Jesus words and do our best to put them into action nuh. ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt. 5:14-15) 

Those are words of awesome truth people, and if our light was shining as bright and as far reaching as possible, our hold on life worldwide right now would certainly not be as intimidating and tenuous. That means we have to raise our level of shining. In the immortal words of Jesus: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) 

And that’s all Jesus really expects of us yes friends; that we give good testimony of Him through our beliefs and behaviour, so that the Father can be glorified, which is what the Father sent him to do. And in these dangerous and uncertain times, it behooves us Christians to come up higher than we ever have, so the world around us can take some courage and assurance in Christ’s guiding light that shines forth through us. So let’ step up to the plate and do better nuh mih people. 

And now, as we go home, let’s boldly and confidently proclaim to the world, who and whose we are by declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra. ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’  

And if we’re sincere, we’ll now go out and share that awesome LOVE and friendship of Christ with others who, in these desperate times, so desperately need to know and come to LOVE Him! Much LOVE!

…light will always overcome darkness…but only when it’s shone there… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 October 2020 Psalm 4:7.

Psalm 4:7.     Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn (grain) and their wine increased. 

Welcome to Thursday friends, the penultimate day of our work week, and this particular one that’s the first day of October in our crazy year of 2020. And though you must be tired of hearing me say it, (smile) the days are just running by like lightning! September just started, we just celebrated Labour Day, now September done already! It’s already Thanksgiving time in Canada. I don’t know if is me alone who find that the days passing by quickly nuh, but it scary, especially in the kind of year we been having. 

But the good thing about being a servant of the Lord is that though the times may be scary, we don’t have to be scared, because as we said yesterday our Lord, Creator and Guide looks after those who serve Him. ‘‘There may be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn (grain) and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.’ (Ps. 4:6-8) 

Yes my people, when we seriously and sincerely interact with Jehovah God, He brings gladness and joy to our hearts, and we can lie down and sleep without any problems. As Bruh David so wisely says in Psalm 3 – A prayer of confidence in God – when he fled from his son Absalom, who was fomenting discord and revolution against him. ‘But thou O Lord, art a shield for (around) me; my glory, and the lifter up of (the one who lifts up) mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.  Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.’ (Ps. 3:3-6) 

Oh friends, what powerful words of faith!Now it’s definitely not a pleasant or easy thing when your son is trying to overthrow you, to kill you and take over your kingdom. (2 Sam. 15) But in one of Bruh David’s lowest times, he kept his faith supreme in the God of his forefathers. And what happened? The Lord pulled him through those tough times successfully, he eventually got back his kingdom from Absalom. (2 Sam. 18) 

Now that’s the kind of faith we believers need to exhibit in these pressing and uncertain times. And if we do, the Lord will see us safely through them, for we all know that this too shall pass, these times can’t last forever, but the ones who will come out successfully are those who hold on tightly to the hands of the Lord God Almighty. 

Yes, these are certainly dark and dubious times, but let’s look at some scripture that ought to uplift us as believers in God. The psalmist proclaims with authority: ‘Ye that LOVE the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance (for the memory) of his holiness (his holy name).’ (Ps. 97:10-12) 

Now that’s the kind of thing believers ought to be doing right now; faithfully believing in the Lord, worshipping Him and rejoicing in His awesome goodness and glory! Now is the time my friends when we are expected to be more than ever the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Believers are expected to rise up when times get tough. As Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) so famously coined: ‘tough times don’t last, but tough people do!’ And we believers are expected to be tough people! And why not eh, since we have the Creator of the universe looking after us? 

Hear this verse from Psalm 112 – Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord. ‘Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man showeth favour (is gracious), and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion (justice).’ (Ps. 112: 4-5) Now that’s the kind of person we’ve been called to be, especially in these hurting and calamitous times; gracious, giving, lending, LOVING, just, and all the other things that describe a true believer! 

And yuh know Cousin Sol must have a word of wisdom to offer. (smile) ‘But the path of the just is as the shining light (bright light), that shineth more and more (ever brighter) unto the perfect day.’ (Prov. 4:18). Mama Yo! Trust Cousin Sol to say it like it is. Our lights are supposed to get ever brighter friends as we count down the days to Jesus’ triumphant return! 

And we all know this immortal verse from Isaiah. ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ (Is. 9:2) Yes, these disturbing times seem like we’re walking in the shadow of death, but remember the light that’s Jesus is constantly shining down on us despite our tough circumstances. 

But please my brethren, let’s remember these most powerful and memorable words of Bruh David from his immortal psalm – The Lord is my shepherd. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.’ (Ps. 23:4) Yea, mih people, the Good Shepherd is looking after us, so there’s no need to fear! That means we can now go home declaring (ah Lord eh…) our Thursday Blessings, which God has so generously blessed us with so that we can do His work. 

All together now in strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! 

I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

And though I shouldn’t have to remind us, just to be on the safe side, I will. (smile) Now let’s go out and share those blessings with others just as generously as the Lord shared them with us. That’s our bounden duty! Much LOVE!

…let your light so shine before men…in these calamitous times… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 December 2015 Isaiah 9:2

Isaiah 9:2.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Well Friends, Christmas Day is over for another year…but not the season! Today is only Boxing Day, when many of you will rush to the malls to get those bargains so widely advertised. (smile) We still have lots of celebrating to do over the next two weeks right into the New Year! 

So we still need to remember that the birth of Jesus was, and still is the reason for all the hoopla all around the world and still pay our respects and reverence like the three wise men and the shepherds did. 

Anyway, I don’t know if I have shared this prayer before, but even if I have, it’s well worth sharing again. It comes from Gramps Schuler’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuler) Hour of Power Devotional. It’s called ‘A Christmas Prayer.’ 

Please pray with me. ‘You lead me, Jesus Christ, to thoughts of God. I see you in a manger carved from a tree. I see you as a young man with hands that reach to touch hearts that hurt. Your caring reaches out like the strong and kind branches of a gentle tree reach out to invite road-weary and travel-worn wayfarers to quiet rest. 

I see you again hanging on a tree with outstretched arms taking in the whole world. From your cross, you show me that God will stop at nothing to save my soul. So, I celebrate God’s LOVE today as I celebrate your birth around a twinkling Christmas tree. I pray my life, like yours, O Lord, may be tall and upright as a pine tree pointing, reaching, sharing, sparkling, life-giving; solid, sturdy, strong rooted in God’s LOVE, a beautiful soul, evergreen forever. Amen.’ 

Ah mih people, after all that our God has done for us, how can we doubt His wonderful and heartfelt LOVE eh? But lots of people seem to do so, and sadly they will suffer for that mistake.  

Now it’s time for our Bit. But first let’s get some context of what it’s all about. Isaiah had earlier prophesied deliverance for Israel, however that would be only after a period of trouble and darkness. 

And he begins Chapter 9 thus: ‘Nevertheless the dimness (gloom) shall not be such as was in her vexation (upon who is distressed), when at the first he lightly afflicted (esteemed) the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea (he shall glorify the way), beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations (Gentiles). 

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ (Is.9:1-2)  

And the scholars offer this explanation: ‘9:1-5. The dimness of Israel’s rejection was especially prevalent in the northern tribal areas of Zebulun and Naphtali, which would suffer greatly under the Assyrian invasion. Galilee is named and identified with the nations (goyim, Gentiles). 

To those in the darkness of the north God promises to send a great light, which is quoted in Matthew 4:15-16 as being fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. The prophet sees these events as though they were already happening. Thus he predicts the future with certainty, as though it had already come to pass.’  

What great prophecy my people! And Isaiah could not have figured out all that by himself. It had to come from a Higher Power. And Matthew concurs in his gospel when he talks about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. 

‘Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, The Land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles; 

The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light has sprung up (has dawned). From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matt.4:12-17) 

 So Friends, Isaiah was quite right, for the child that was born unto us, called Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace etc. did begin His serious ministry in the region that Isaiah identified.  Oh glory to God my brethren for the might and depth of His Word! 

And we’ll get another prophecy fulfilled soon after Jesus’ birth. He was brought to the temple at eight days old, as per the Jewish custom to be offered to God and be circumcised. 

Now when Joseph and Mary showed up at the temple with Jesus, they met an old man named Simeon, ‘just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel (Messianic hope): and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.’ Luke 2:25-26) 

And would you believe that day the Holy Ghost led him to the temple just as Mary and Joseph showed up? ‘Then he took him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word (God’s promise): for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  

A light to lighten (bring revelation to) the gentiles; and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of them.’ (Luke 2:28-33) 

And per the scholars: ‘2:32-33. Here for the first time the parents hear the startling prophecy that Jesus’ significance would extend even to the Gentiles. This would be surprising even if it had not come from an apparent stranger.’ 

It certainly would my people, and I can just imagine how Joseph’s and Mary’s mouths must have been wide open with wonder at the child they had borne.  

And yuh know what Friends, two thousand and odd years later, we are still drooling in wonder at the Christ child, as we should, because that is wisdom of the highest order. Much LOVE!

…no other baby ever born…can match the wonder that’s Jesus…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 December 2015 Isaiah 9:2

Isaiah 9:2.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

  MERRY  CHRISTMAS !

Oh my fellow believers, friends, neighbours and the great unwashed, Jesus Christ is born! Glory Hallelujah! At long last the day for which we’ve waited is here, so to show our appreciation and gratitude let’s offer up some sacrificial praise and thanksgiving nuh! 

Please sing with me: ‘Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her king; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing. 

Joy to the earth! The savior reigns; Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat the sounding joy. 

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found. 

He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of his righteousness, And wonders of his LOVE, And wonders of his LOVE, And wonders, wonders, of his LOVE.’ 

Yes my brethren, our Lord and Saviour was born some two thousand years ago in the dirty and ‘dingy’ stable with the all the animals and their funky smell, but that didn’t bother Him one iota. And a lot of people wonder if God is so omnipotent and otherwise why He allowed His blessed son to be born in such lowly and humble surroundings. 

Well Friends, that’s just because God wanted to show that Christ came to save the lowly, the lost, the needy, not the righteous and wealthy. Plus He also likes to ‘confuffle’ mankind by using the lowly and poor when others expect Him to use the wise and wealthy. 

But be that as it may, today is Christ’s birthday and it is being celebrated all around the world with joy and gladness and good tidings to one and all. Even those who are being relentlessly persecuted are celebrating, because their faith is strong enough to withstand the persecution, for it’s based on the wonderful and faithful promises of Jesus! Glory to God my people! 

And now turning to our Bit: ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth my believing brethren? It certainly is, because Jesus is the LIGHT of this dark world, and when He was born His healing and comforting and saving light was let loose on the darkness and the people rejoiced, because they could then see their way clear by the brilliant LIGHT that Jesus brought to planet earth. 

Now here is why our God is so great, especially when coming to promises. The prophet Isaiah foretold centuries before Christ’s birth this wonderful news that the people faithfully held on to for so long. 

‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord will perform this.’ (Is.9:6-7) 

And though it took many centuries for this to happen, in God’s time, His zeal did perform the promise through the miraculous birth of Jesus through the Virgin Mary. 

Yesterday we saw how Mary’s faith was great, as she acceded to the Lord’s purpose in her life without any hesitation. Oh friends, are we doing the same eh? Are we getting in agreement with God’s plan for our life without too much hassle and doubt and anxiety? I surely do hope so, because that’s when the Lord performs His miracles in our lives and raises us up. 

Now let’s turn to Luke and get his account of Jesus’ birth. ‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in their field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon (stood before) them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore (greatly) afraid. 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: 

Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes (cloths), lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:8-14) 

Yes Friends, that is what Jesus came to earth to bring; peace and good will to all mankind. Let’s never forget that because it’s one of the basic tenets of our faith. 

And time and space has run out on us, but we all know how the shepherds ran to where Jesus lay and found Him just as the angels had declared, then they spread the good news all around the area, praising and glorifying God. (Luke 2:15-20) 

Now that’s what we ought to do today and everyday my people. Anyway, today is Friday, and I believe it is one day when we badly need our Friday Chant to keep us in line, since the celebration of Christ’s birth is so phenomenal. So let’s go home chanting it with sincerity and enthusiasm nuh. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

And please remember Granny’s plea, that drunk or sober we must mind our business. That is ever so important in these times of celebration.  Merry Christmas my brothers and sisters in Christ! Much LOVE!

…Christmas…the time when Christ’s light…first shone in a darkened world… 

P.S.  The Bit’s early today friends, so no complaints. (smile) That’s because I wrote it right after I came from the 11 0’clock service at church. This way I can do my own celebrations without having to worry about waking up to write it. Oh there is indeed method to my madness! (smile) And though it’s somewhat long, I think it’s good. Hope you do too. Much LOVE!