Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 March 2020 Proverbs 1:7.

Proverbs 1:7.    ​The fear (reverence, reverential awe) of the Lord is the (principal) beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
 
It’s like a ghost town; like a lockdown in jail! Mama! The whole country is now in a state of near immobility. There’s been directives from the Prime Minister, the Premier, the Mayor, even my City Councillor to shut it down, stay home and practice social distancing. Hn! What a bam bam! Around my house, only the birds are singing, and hopefully the garbage truck will soon pass by to pick up the garbage. Nothing or no one else seems to be moving. I don’t know if our world has ever had so many states of emergencies at the same time, even in times of serious warfare. But that’s what it seems it will take to help defeat this Coronavirus. 

And life is so strange and mankind so foolish, stubborn and full of himself, that I want to share something that if it’s true, and there’s no reason to doubt it, could have avoided a lot of this disaster. It’s a video of an apparent warning from Bill Gates, back in 2015, at a conference about the Ebola Virus; another virus that caught us flat-footed and without any protection.  His words were: ‘Today, the greatest risk of global catastrophe doesn’t look like this…’ and the video shows a huge nuclear cloud mushrooming in the atmosphere. ‘Instead, it looks like this…’ and the video shows a microscopic enlargement of a germ cell. 

‘If anything kills over ten million people over the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes. Now part of the reason for this is that we’ve invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents, but we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic. We’re not ready for the next epidemic! You can have a virus where people feel well enough while they are infectious that  they get on a plane or they go to a market. The source of the virus could be a natural epidemic like Ebola or it could be bio-terrorism. And so there are things that would literally make things a thousand times worse. 

In fact, let’s look at a model of a virus spread through the air, like the Spanish flu back in 1918. So here’s what would happen: It would spread throughout the world very very quickly…’ And a graph comes up showing how quickly the virus spread back then – some 36 million in 263 days – ‘And you can see that over 30 million people died from that epidemic. So this is a serious problem. We should be concerned. But in fact we can build a really good response system. We have the benefits of all the science and technology that we’ve talked about here. 

We’ve got cell phones, to get information from the public and to get information out to them; we have satellite maps, where we can see where people are, and where they’re moving; we have advances in biology that should dramatically change the turn around time to look at a pathogen and be able to make drugs and vaccines that’s fit for that pathogen. So we can have tools, but those tools need to be put into an overall global health system…and we need preparedness. The best lessons I think on how to get prepared, are again what we do for war. 

For soldiers, we have full time – waiting to go. We have reserves that can scale us up to large numbers and NATO has a mobile unit that can deploy very rapidly. NATO does a lot of war games to check, are people well trained, that they understand about fuel and logistics and the same radio frequencies, so they are absolutely ready to go. So those are the kinds of things we need to deal with an epidemic. And what are the key pieces? Our first is, we need strong health systems in poor countries. That’s where mothers can give birth safely, where children can get all their vaccines, but also where we’ll see the outbreak very early on. 

We need a medical reserve corps; lots of people who’ve got the training and background; who are ready to go with the expertise. And then we need to pair those medical people with the military; taking advantage of the military’s ability to move fast, do logistics and secure areas. We need to do simulations; germ games, not war games, so that we see where the holes are. The last time a germ game was done in the United States was back in 2001, and it didn’t  go so well. So far the score is germs one, people zero. Finally we need lots of advance R&D in areas of vaccines and diagnostics. There are some big breakthroughs like the adeno associated virus that could work very quickly. 

Now I don’t have an exact budget for what this would cost, but I’m quite sure that it’s very modest compared to the potential harm. The world bank estimates that if we have a worldwide flu epidemic, global wealth will go down by over three trillion dollars, and we’d have millions and millions of death. These investments offer significant benefits beyond just being ready for the epidemic; the primary health care, the R&D, those things will reduce global health equity and make the world more just, as well as more safe. 

So I think this should absolutely be a priority. There’s no need to panic. We don’t have to hoard cans of spaghetti, or go down into the basement, but we need to get going, because time is not on our side. In fact, if there’s one positive thing, that can come out of the Ebola epidemic, is that it can serve as an early warning, a wake up call to get ready. If we start now, we can be ready for the next epidemic. Thank you!’ 

Ah mih people, what words of wisdom eh! But the sad part is that we never took Bill’s advice. Now if we don’t take the advice of the richest and one of the most powerful men in the world, who’s are we going to take eh? You can say all you want about him, and how he got his wealth and how he can afford to sit in his ivory tower and talk, but like a prophetic warning, his words have come through, a mere five years later. And we were not ready! And besides, the virus is not a respecter of persons, it takes both the rich and powerful as well as the poor and needy. 

So we’ll see oodles of deaths, let’s hope not millions, and the world economy has already been devastated, by more than 3 trillion, since most things and places around the world have been shut down. What’s the next step eh? We now fighting to do the R&D, and hopefully sometime develop a suitable vaccine, but all of that takes time, and until then, people will die, and the world will become more like a death camp and poverty stricken place than a thriving and prosperous hotspot. 

Oh my people, it’s the same thing with the warnings in the Good Book: tribulation and calamity will befall us if we don’t reverence, worship and obey our Creator. Cousin Sol said it in spades: ‘The fear (reverence, reverential awe) of the Lord is the (principal) beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! That’s why we find ourselves in disasters such as these. But our foolishness, and consequently our calamities, can be minimized, if we will follow true wisdom and turn to our great, forgiving and merciful God in prayer. 

Friends, it’s our ONLY hope! Even if we find an antidote for this current virus, something else will soon assault us if we don’t get ready for it with constant and sincere prayer. So please, I implore us, not only in these calamitous times, but when they pass. ‘To pray without ceasing. And in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess. 5:17-18) Much LOVE!

…there’s lots of truth to the old saying…if you don’t hear…you’re going to feel…

P.S. Yes I know it’s long and late, but I got up late, and the warning might be a tad late for now, but if we survive this, there will be a next time. So let’s be wise and learn from it nuh! Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 August 2019 John 13:34-35.

John 13:34-35.    ​A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.
 

Oh friends, please forgive me for the lateness of the Bit, but the last two days have been pretty hectic, and I’m no longer a spring chicken…not yet old though. (smile) I’ve been trying to burn the candle at both ends, going to bed late, getting up early to write the Bit, then getting out and about for the whole day. Well it’s finally caught up to me. 

Thursday was a cricket match in the neighbouring city of Brampton, and then yesterday, Friday, was a funeral in the eastern city of Ajax, on the other side of Toronto. The turnout was so overwhelming that the big chapel was packed to overflowing and we had to sit in a holding area downstairs and watch the proceedings on close circuit t.v. 

The overlong glowing tributes of our friend made him sound like the perfect man. (smile) But I guess that’s how it is when we bid our friends a final adieu. We don’t recall their faults, just their strong points, like the Lord does in His wonderful forgiveness, casting away our wrongs as far as the east is from the west. 

After the hour and half ceremony we spent another hour in the cemetery, this time in the hot sun. Then we went south to another part of the city for the repast. That was a wonderful time, with good Jamaican fare; curry goat, rice and peas and jerk chicken. But the best part was the renewal of several friendships, with people whom we haven’t seen in ages. 

We were all a part of the young, well-educated West Indian Diaspora who migrated to Canada in the early seventies and changed the face of Toronto, adding vibrancy and colour, both literally and figuratively to a staid, old white town. (smile) People with whom we worked and partied in those long ago, cold, long winter days, but with whom we’d lost touch as the area expanded and we all became immersed in our building our new lives. That’s just the way it is with the big city. 

Unfortunately though, the duchess and I had to eat and run, because there were people back in our town waiting for us to come and pick them up to go to the Pan Competition in the heart of Toronto. So we left there around four, got on the toll road and hustled back home, changed, then hit the road again. Luckily though, for some unknown reason, on a Caribana Friday evening, the traffic into T.O. wasn’t bad, and we made it in time for the seven o’clock start of the pan event. 

That was good too, and better organized than in earlier years, though I don’t understand why they allowed some bands to play two songs and others only one. But the music was excellent. However, it finished around midnight and the duchess and my friends were tired, so we didn’t stick around to hear the results, which I’m sure, caused much dissent, as it usually does. 

But that’s the nature of pan competitions, everybody rooting for their own side, though knowing deep down that they weren’t good enough to win. The long and short of the story though, is that by the time I dropped everybody home, I didn’t get home till after one. And it was close to two before I finally went to bed. So it’s obvious I was late getting up. So that’s my story…and I’m sticking to it. (smile) 

Now let’s see if we can get in some quotes from our friend Anselm, who sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read ’em but all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em.’ That’s certainly interesting and true, because the day you were born and the day you died, don’t really matter. What matters most is what you did in the time period between those two days. And I guess a good example of that are the glowing tributes my friend Linton had at his last celebration yesterday. 

Now listen to this one: ‘Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.’ That should be a no- brainer my people, because it’s exactly what Jesus came to help us do; right wrongs, stamp out inequality and injustice, help the weak and fight the strong. So as a believer those things are expected of us. 

Then this quote speaks for itself: ‘When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.’ Ah mih people, I won’t call not giving thanks for all that we have, the good life we’re living, a fault nuh, but utter stupidity! You didn’t give yourself the ability to rise and see a new day, or the breath that’s still flowing through you. 

Remember Bruh Paul’s words to the Ephesians: ‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Eph.5:20) And to the Thessalonians: ‘In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess.5:18) Yes friends, even though our circumstances may be difficult or unpleasant, it’s our bounden duty to give thanks at ALL times! 

And this last quote says it all: ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in LOVE.’ Oh mih people, LOVE is the transcendent power of the universe! John said it thus: ‘Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (atonement) for our sins. Beloved, if God so LOVED us, we also ought to LOVE one another.’ (1 John 4:10-11)  

And Jesus not only gave us a living example of our quote, but also clearly made it known that He expects the same of His followers. ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ 

Oh friends, it couldn’t get any clearer or plainer than that! And I’ll leave it there; just let those words speak to our hearts, and let the Holy Spirit convict us as it will, in regards to our LOVE Walk! That’s what it’s there for! Much LOVE!

…hatred stirreth up strifes…but LOVE covereth ALL sins… (Prov.10:12)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 November 2015 Psalm 118:1

Psalm 118:1.   Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; because his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever.

HAPPY  THANKSGIVING  U.S. OF A !

Well a Happy Thanksgiving Thursday to all you fine folks in the U.S. of A! Let’s hope that it will indeed be a happy one, with lot’s of thanks and giving and LOVING, as there ought to be. 

We are indeed blessed in these challenging times and should truly pay homage to the One who has brought us such prosperity. I know things aren’t all hunky dory, but believe me, we in the West are having it much better than many others in the rest of the world, and that is enough to be thankful for. 

Now here is an interesting and appropriate poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, entitled ‘Thanksgiving Day Dream.’ 

And it says: ‘On this fragrant, frosty Thanksgiving Day The huge turkey browns beautifully In our king-size oven. The tender yams are evenly candied; The corn soufflé is beginning to bubble; The congealed salad is ready to unmold. 

The homemade bread with its crunchy texture Is wrapped in foil for reheating. The ice cubes are bagged in plastic; The relishes are artistically arranged On a round crystal plate. The pumpkin pies are still slightly warm. Fresh yellow chrysanthemums Grace the long, colourful table. The house glistens and shines. My makeup is evenly applied… 

So dear family How about settling down In our favourite chairs For an hour of relaxation Before our guests arrive! Lord I dream of this happening Some ethereal Thanksgiving Day!’ 

Yes Friends, I know that most of you dream that a Thanksgiving Day could play out as simply and efficiently as that. But the truth of the matter is that that seldom happens, because there are always last minute preparations and hustle and bustle to complete before the guests arrive. 

I guess though, that is a part of all that makes the Thanksgiving Day special, especially since this is probably the biggest and most widely celebrated holiday in the U.S. with everybody heading home, or to some where, to meet and greet long lost or long unseen friends and family and enjoy turkey and pumpkin pie, and good relations. 

Oh, it’s never all sugar and spice when families get together, but it doesn’t have to be nasty and ungodly. Now please be careful. Enjoy it, but don’t over do it! Remember to give plenty thanks, because that’s what the holiday is all about. 

Oh, and don’t forget Granny’s words of heavenly wisdom: ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober please mind your business!’ (smile) 

Unfortunately though, many residents of the U.S will not be enjoying such a Thanksgiving Day because of a lack of family or LOVED ones, because of poverty and homelessness, or being sick in the hospital, or incarcerated. So please, as much as is within your means do help those who don’t have as much as you do. 

Remember Nehemiah’s admonition when the Jews returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon and first heard the Word of God read to them. ‘Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Neh.8:10) 

And it is indeed my brethren. So in your joy today, please don’t forget those who have no joy, or anything to celebrate with. 

That brings us very appropriately to the promise to which our earlier poem was linked. ‘Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered (hungry), and ye gave me meat (food): 

I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.’ (Matt.25:34-36) 

Yes my fellow believers, that’s what Jesus wants to see from us, especially on such an important, but also one of the loneliest days of the year. So please help whomever and wherever you can, so that the light of Jesus can shine brightly in this too dark world. 

And finally, we come to our Bit. ‘Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; because his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever.’ 

Oh what a wonderful scripture my precious people! And it shouldn’t only be followed on Thanksgiving Day, but EVERYDAY, because we have so much to be thankful for EVERYDAY! 

And sadly, somehow or the other we’ve lost that attitude of gratefulness, of thankfulness that our fathers had. I don’t know if that’s because they had to depend so much on Almighty God for their livelihood, or we have just become such an ungrateful, selfish and thankless bunch. 

Now we are just going to end with a couple of scriptures that wisely advise the giving of continual thanks. Listen to Bruh David from his psalm of thanksgiving. ‘Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.’ (1 Chr.16:8-9) 

And Jeremiah reminds us of what will happen when Judah is revived; all the desolation will be removed, and this will occur. ‘The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, 

Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land (cause the captives of the land to return), as at the first saith the Lord.’ (Jer.33:11) 

So Friends, on this glorious day, with the wonderful breath of Jehovah God flowing through our bodies, let’s all offer the sacrifice of praise to Him nuh, because we all have so much to be thankful for. Much LOVE!

…in every thing give thanks…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus…concerning you… (1 Thess.5:18)