Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 July 2018 Luke 9:62.

Luke 9:62.   And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

And so we come to Saturday; a day when so many of us breathe a huge sigh of relief, like a great burden has been lifted off our shoulders. And a great burden has indeed been lifted off of many shoulders, and I’m not simply talking about having to go to work, but the effort it takes to get to and from work. 

We’re talking about the endless traffic jams, morning and evening, the hustling along the crowded sidewalks, the rushing and pushing to catch Public Transportation, and then being packed like sardines in the subways and buses. Hn! No wonder so much fatigue, tiredness and lack of incentive exists in our society, and people are prone to do just as much as they can get by with. 

And then, come Saturday, they just lie around like beached whales, too tired to do much of anything but eat and sleep. I don’t know the solution to the problem nuh, but I do know that we waste a lot, too much time and energy just getting to and from work. 

One would think that mankind, as this great thinking machine, as this great font of wisdom, would be able to devise a better, more productive system. Unfortunately though, I don’t see it happening any time soon, so we’d better look about strengthening our backbones and our minds so that we can bear it. Sermon done! (smile) 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s turn to the quotes of our friend Anselm, who sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. I don’t know what happened, but I only got one quote from him this week, but it’s a good one. ‘We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.’ 

What words of absolute wisdom my brethren! Looking back is not something we ought to do too often because it keeps us from moving forward. As Anselm says, we should only look back to learn from our mistakes and use them to make our future more productive. 

Unfortunately though, many of us live in the past. We keep rehashing the things that have happened and keep bringing all that baggage to our current situations. Therefore we can never get ahead with all that negative stuff weighing us down. Please remember my brethren that the past is dead and gone, it’s history, and we can never get it back no matter how we romanticize it, talking about the good old days. 

Now here is the definitive word on the subject, from none other than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  ‘And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’ 

That’s one of the tests of discipleship, and what Jesus told the man who wanted to follow Him, but first desired to go and tell his family farewell. Ah mih people, it sounds like a rough, unfeeling statement, but workers for Jesus must be forward looking, forward thinking people, not dwellers in the past. 

Hear the scholars’ explanation. ‘9:62. Fit, occurring elsewhere only in 14:35 and Hebrews 6:7, means “suitable” or “usable.” One who makes life’s lesser matters of greater priority than God’s work is of little use to Him.’ 

Remember how Jesus recruited Peter and Andrew and James and John, the sons of Zebedee? He just passed by the seashore and saw Peter and Andrew casting their nets: ‘And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed him. 

And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.’ (Matt.4:19-22) What obedience my people! Can you imagine Zebedee’s consternation; his sons’ just walking away with a total stranger? 

And the scholars tell us: ‘The statement in verse 22 that they immediately responded to His call gives us a perfect picture of true obedience to the lordship of Christ.’ 

And we also have the perfect example of how looking back can affect us negatively in the story of Lot when the Lord warned him to flee from the area of Sodom and Gomorrah where he lived. The angels took him and his family out to the city limits. ‘And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad (outside), that he (they) said, Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain, escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.’ (Gen.19:17) 

But Lot begged them to let him escape to a small city nearby, called Zoar, and they agreed. (Gen.19:18-23) Then the Lord rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. ’But his (Lot’s) wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.’(Gen.19:26) 

And the scholars explain: ‘She became a pillar of salt: Jesus used this incident as a warning to others not to look back (Luke 17:21-33). Lot’s wife apparently lingered behind, continually and longingly looking back on her beloved possessions, and was buried by the explosion that resulted from the destruction of the city. Brimstone and fire may refer to a meteorite shower that literally burned up the whole area.’ 

Nuff said my people. Much LOVE!

…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…else he will surely feel…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 June 2018 Isaiah 53:7.

Isaiah 53:7.   He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

‘Sunny days are here again! Glory Hallelujah!’ Yeh friends, it’s sunny and beautiful once again, although yesterday did turn out nicely, except that in the afternoon a mild thunderstorm swept through the area leaving a devastating windstorm in its wake. 

Ah Lord eh! The thunderstorm wasn’t bad, but the wind provoked the region all evening, late into the night, blowing down stuff and causing a fair amount of damage. Thankfully my property didn’t seem to suffer any damage this time, as the last windstorm we had blew down a part of my fence. 

And if that’s the extent of our disasters, then let us give God much thanks and plenty glory yes, because so many others are undergoing much worse disasters, like floods, volcanoes and wildfires, and the tornado and hurricane seasons will soon be upon us in full force, so we have a lot of negative stuff to look forward to. 

And I was just reading that a lot of people in Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys are still living in very trying conditions, without electricity, in rundown trailer parks etc, nine months after the last hurricane devastated their areas. How sad is that eh friends? Where is the government…and the church…and we, the supposed neighbours… and the many charitable organizations that are constantly collecting money from us eh? 

I don’t know the answers nuh friends, but I do know that in the LOVE of Christ, our fellow men and women should not be living in such trying conditions through no fault of their own. And to help alleviate our concerns, I have two seminal quotes from the Daily Bread Devotionals. The first says ‘No one understands like Jesus.’ 

And isn’t that the living truth my people! Nobody understands our trials and tribulations like Jesus because He experienced them too in His earthly sojourn. So in times when our small, finite understanding fails us, He is the One we need to go to and just lay all our burdens before Him. 

Remember what He said in His Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matt.11:28) And He was not joking my brethren, but being very serious. There’s no other Being in man’s history who has ever made such a declaration! That’s because no other has ever had the parts to fulfill it. But Jesus does my people. 

So whenever we’re down and out and don’t know what to do, please turn to Him, that’s the wisest thing to do, and He will give you succour. I can personally testify to that. He might not drive away the negative circumstances, but He will certainly give you the wherewithal to bear them in a positive manner. And sometimes that’s all we really need if we are true and faithful believers. 

And the second quote is: ‘Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, motivates us to sacrifice ourselves for others.’ Or at least it ought to. Unfortunately though in too many cases it does not. In fact, the word ‘sacrifice’ is not one that’s used much in our everyday lives. Some people don’t even know it, or know what it means. 

And for our information, here is how the dictionary defines it. ‘Sacrifice: Giving up of thing for the sake of another that is higher or more urgent, thing thus given up, loss thus entailed.’ Yeh friends, it means giving up something, losing something for somebody else’s sake, because their need is more urgent than ours. 

And what’s the greatest sacrifice ever made on the face of this earth? That of Jesus giving up His sinless, holy life for our sinful, disgusting one, so that atonement could be made for our sorrowful, sinful state. The Good Book declares: ‘He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.’ 

Yeh friends, that’s how Jesus died on our behalf; without a word of murmur or complaint. So why is it so difficult for us to give up much simpler stuff for others eh? Why are we so greedy and like to hoard stuff for ourselves, even when we sometimes have no use for them? 

I guess that’s the natural nature of man, especially in today’s selfish and greedy world, and the LOVE and sacrifice of Jesus have not yet truly infiltrated our hearts and souls so that we can become more like Him, generous to a fault. But we LOVE to get, to receive. Oh brother do we ever! 

But please remember these immortal words of Jesus: ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom (pocket). For with the same measure that you mete (use to give) withal it shall be measured to you again.’ (Luke 6:38) 

Yeh friends, that means if you give stingily, you will be given back stingily. However if you give generously, you will receive generously. That’s just the law of God’s economics. So please let us start giving generously nuh, of our time, talents and money, so that we can receive generously from God and man too. It’s only wisdom friends. 

Now let’s go home declaring our Thursday Blessings, that the Lord has so generously bestowed on us, although we don’t deserve many of them. But that’s the kind of God He is! So all together now: ‘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!’ 

Now please note that the Lord didn’t give us all of that to hoard for ourselves, but to go out and share with the less fortunate. So let’s do His will on that nuh, so that He can bless us even more. Much LOVE!

…it is so much better…to give than to receive…but we must also learn how to receive…in humility…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 June 2018 Proverbs 28:6.

Proverbs 28:6.   Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness (integrity), than he that is perverse (deceitful, unfaithful) in his ways, though he be rich.

And then it was Monday – the day that we all LOVE so much! Hn, hn! I guess though that the reality is more like LOVE to hate because it breaks up our nice, comfortable weekend dalliances. But look at it this way friends; if there was no Monday and no work, then there would be no weekend dalliances. 

So although we don’t like going out to work on Monday, it’s just the way things are, and we might as well get used to it and plan for it in our weekly schedule. ‘Sunday – church – fellowship- renew Spirit: Monday – Work – will not get upset, since if I don’t work I won’t eat.’ 

But thankfully, we have an antidote for those Monday Blues and non-work feelings. It’s called our Monday Morning Battle Hymn and when we sing it out, it just resonates in every pore of our body and gets the adrenaline flowing like a mighty rushing river. (smile) So let’s belt it out now nuh with as much enthusiasm as we can muster. 

‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Ah mih breddren, can you feel that mighty rushing river of adrenaline flowing through you now? Yes! I know you can! Now let’s get ourselves together and get out there and do God’s work; spread His gospel like He wants us to, and live lives of salt and light so that others might see and want to become like us. 

Remember, it’s not so much the message, but even more so the image of Christ that we portray which brings people to Him. We can’t talk one thing then do something completely contrary to our talk. Both our talk and walk have to be on the same wavelength. And that’s one of the major reasons why unbelievers are turned off of Christians. Who can blame them eh? 

That’s why Cousin Sol warns us in our Bit: ‘Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness (integrity), than he that is perverse (deceitful, unfaithful) in his ways, though he be rich.’ And if we are true believers, we know that to be the awesome truth! 

Integrity is ever so important in the life of a believer, because that’s what Jesus’ entire ministry is based on. He never led people astray, or told them one thing when it was another, and that’s what so badly needed in our Christian society today. One must be able to take whatever is said or done and be able to have faith and trust in it, otherwise all we’ll have is a wishy-washy, untrustworthy ministry like the world system. 

And to show how easy it is for doubt and distrust to creep into our belief system, even for the disciples, who spent lots of time with Jesus personally. Hear their response to His telling them about going back to heaven to prepare a place for them 

‘And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 

Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth (will satisfy) us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, show us the Father? 

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself (on my own authority): but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.’ (John 14:4-10) 

Yeh friends, it’s not easy for many to accept, but once we’ve experienced Jesus, we have indeed experienced the Father. And the scholars have this interesting explanation of verse 9. 

‘14:9. Seen me…seen the Father: There are no attributes of deity that the Son does not possess. This statement is most powerful. Everything that is true of God the Father is also true of the Son. The doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament may be inscrutable (mysterious, hard to understand), but it is also inescapable.’ 

That means if you want to be a believer, you must deal with and eventually believe the doctrine of the Triune God, because it is just a basic foundation of the faith. 

Ah friends, living and working for Jesus is not easy on any level, but when we put in the time and effort it takes, it can be such a wonderful, adventurous and fulfilling life. Don’t take my word for it, try it nuh. Much LOVE!

…once we have Jesus…we don’t need anything or anyone else…Glory to God…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 May 2018 Ezekiel 19:10.

Ezekiel 19:10.   Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood (bloodline), planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.

HAPPY  MOTHER’S  DAY!

And then it was Sunday once again, our favourite day for worship, but it’s also a special Sunday where we celebrate the Mother figures in our lives. Those feminine towers of awesome strength and assurance, the backbone of our society. And in my search, I discovered a real appropriate and praiseworthy hymn dedicated to them. It’s called ‘Honour Christian Mothers’ and is sung to the tune of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ 

So let’s open today’s proceedings paying sincere homage to the matriarchs in our midst nuh. In full voice let’s sing: ‘(Chorus) Honour Christian Mothers, instruments of God; Raising faithful families, worshipping the Lord.) Following His commandments, showing us the way: LOVE and faith and kindness; teaching us to pray. (Chorus) 

“Let it be,” say mothers, trusting to obey, Finding strength, grace for every day. Challenges surround us, but we will not fear. God’s LOVE will sustain us, help, our cross, to bear. (Chorus) God be with our mothers who have gone before, certain of His promise: life forevermore. In His many mansions, LOVE again we’ll share, He will take away all sorrow, wipe away each tear. (Chorus) 

Honour Christian Mothers – Heaven’s gift of LOVE. Join with them in service to the Lord above. Follow their example, let your lights so shine – All will see your goodness, praise the One Divine. (Chorus) Onward, still, ye mothers, tho’ the time will come; Sons will leave their parents, daughters leave their homes. We’ll remain united, Mother’s legacy; One in LOVE and faithfulness, One in charity. (Chorus).’ 

Oh friends, I could not find out the author of those lyrics, but they surely are a terrific tribute to the Mothers that raise and LOVE us! And if you’ll remember people, yesterday morning I got up and went downstairs early on to get something to eat. Well here is what the Lord caused me to write about Mother’s Day, before I came back up to bed. 

‘Wherefore, O wherefore art thou Mothers? Is it because of the original sin that you have been given the painful and difficult, but ever so necessary task of bearing children in thy womb, birthing them in travail, then raising them in deceitful and cantankerous families? 

Well, whatever the reason, I want to acknowledge that you have done a marvellous, a fantastic job down through the ages, and your God and mankind are very proud of you. Therefore, we wish you ALL Mothers, a very happy, blessed and prosperous Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day Mothers! 

And you know, as tears well up in my eyes, my one regret is that my mother, Molly, is not here so I can share those fateful words with her. Oh, like all of us, she had her faults, but nonetheless, she was a mother par excellence! 

Yeh Mols, although it’s been almost seven years now since you went to be with Lord, the ole fella misses you, and is crying, as he seems to do every Mother’s Day without you. That’s the one time the tears come without any reservation whatsoever. (smile) 

And I’m surely sorry if I didn’t treat or appreciate you as well as I should have. But I know in your sweet soul, you’ve already forgiven me for that. So rest in peace, please Mols sugar. And I do hope that you are cavorting in heaven with Jesus and the angels, as is your right as a believer.’ 

Oh friends, there will always be some resilient guilt in us, as to whether we treated our mothers as best we could. But please don’t let it cause us grief, because we’ve already been forgiven for it, since that’s what good mothers do. That brings us to our Bit. ‘Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood (bloodline), planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.’ 

And although that scripture was meant to pertain to Israel, there are so few real references to mothers, all of which I have already used. I wanted something new, and this fits the bill perfectly, for that is exactly how mothers are. They are like a fruitful vines planted by nourishing waters, just bearing good fruit regardless of the circumstances. They are like fountains of living waters, always bubbling forth with goodness and mercy. 

One psalmist put it this way: ‘He maketh (causes) the barren (childless) woman to keep house (dwell in a home) and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.’ (Ps.113:9) Yeh my brethren, we should absolutely praise the Lord for mothers, since we’d be completely lost without them. 

And I’m chuckling here as I come to the end of this Mother’s Day message, because it’s something I also wrote yesterday, though not under my own steam. The Lord played one of His tricks on me. Yesterday morning after I went back up to bed, He got into my head with all sorts of stuff for this message, and finally I had to get up and write it down. 

And this is what I wrote. ‘Son’s honour your mothers because they, or rather you are a significant part of them, since they bore you for nine painful, uncomfortable months, and it’s to them that your navel string was attached. And most likely they’ve played a most significant role in your life. So it behooves you to adore and revere them. 

Daughters, please endear yourselves to your mothers, because one day you might also be a mother. And since we reap what we sow, your child will probably treat you the way you treat your mother. 

And finally, let’s not only celebrate our Mothers on this one day of the year, but everyday of their earthly sojourn, for they have certainly put in their time and testimony to deserve it.’ Much LOVE!

…a Mother’s LOVE…is like the Lord’s…unconditional…always caring…and never ending…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 February 2018 1 Peter 1:3.

1 Peter 1:3.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us unto a lively (living, constant) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Well my faithful brethren, it’s Sunday once again, the Lord’s Day, and with it come certain commitments: namely to gather in the Lord’s sanctuary in true fellowship to praise and worship Him with humble and sincere hearts.  And though we are scheduled to get a bundle of snow in the Toronto area today, we must not let that stop us from gathering in the Lord’s sanctuary to exalt and glorify His holy name and receive His strength, confidence and assurance for the upcoming week. 

Glory to God my people! When believers get together to worship the Lord…Chuh! There’s nothing on earth like it. We sing and dance and pray and praise and listen to His awesome word that’s indisputable truth! Wow! How could any other gathering beat that eh? 

And as always, we shall open today’s proceedings with song. The Lord likes prayer, but I believe He is partial and sentimental to getting His glory and praise delivered in song. (smile) And that’s exactly how all the elders and other heavenly populace constantly praise Him. So let’s do just that by offering up a sacrifice of praise with our lips as we sincerely belt out the old Isaacs Watts favourite, ‘Our God, our Help in ages past.’ 

And please note, it seems like Isaac wrote it as ‘Our God,’ and not ‘O,’ or ‘Oh God,’ as has become popular. And as our voices rise to heaven in sweet song, let’s consider each word and sentiment we sing and realize, admit that they are gospel truth. 

As one earthly host now: ‘Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come, our Shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal Home. Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure. Before the hills in order stood or earth received its frame, from everlasting Thou art God, to endless years the same. 

A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an ev’ning gone, short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun. Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away; they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the op’ning day. Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come, be Thou our Guide while life shall last, and our eternal Home!’ 

Yes friends, EVERY sentiment we just sang there is the living truth, and I hope it just melted our hearts, but simultaneously had it bursting with joy and LOVE for our wonderful God! 

No wonder Peter could so confidently declare in our Bit and following: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us unto a lively (living, constant) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ (1 Pet.1:3-5) 

Oh friends, if there is one thing we’re certain of is hope of salvation because of Jesus’ resurrection! Glory Be! Now listen to the scholars: ‘1:3-5. The portrayal of salvation looks to the future. The author of salvation is portrayed as the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The work of salvation (vs.3-5) is described as to its effect. 

Hath begotten us again refers to a new stage of life that begins at salvation. This lively hope has no element of uncertainty, for it is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The believer’s inheritance is described as incorruptible, imperishable or indestructible, and undefiled (i.e., morally untainted). 

That fadeth not away, means it is not subject to the ravages of time. Further it is reserved, that is, it has been preserved in the past and still is in heaven. Kept is a present passive participle – we are secure because we are continually guarded by God, who never relaxes His vigil. Salvation here refers to final salvation, that is, deliverance from the presence of sin, and into the presence of God.’ 

How could it get any better than that eh my people? When we place our sincere trust in Jesus we end up in a new stage of life, salvation, with an assured inheritance that cannot be corrupted, does not deteriorate, is morally untainted, and is specially reserved for us in heaven! And on top of all that, we are guarded night and day by an omnipotent Deity, who never sleeps. 

Mama Mia! Now I don’t know about anybody else nuh, but to me, that’s an offer I cannot refuse! And I do hope that ALL of you reading today’s Bit will feel the same way, because the other option is a terrible one; separation from God, and companionship with the evil Lucifer and his legion of evil cohorts.  

But to get that lively hope friends, we need to be born again. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ (John 3:3) 

And when Nicodemus looked puzzled and asked about physically entering again into one’s mother’s womb, and being born again, Jesus clarified it for him. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ (John 3:5-6) 

So friends, if we are not born of the Spirit, have a supernatural spiritual birth in the name of Jesus, most likely we will be excluded  from heaven. And that is certainly the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being. So please be warned, and wisely take the necessary steps to assure that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, for therein lies salvation and eternal life. Much LOVE!

…as for me and mine…brother…we are definitely riding shotgun with Jesus…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 November 2017 Jeremiah 31:3.

Jeremiah 31:3.    The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have LOVED thee with an everlasting LOVE: therefore with LOVING-kindness have I drawn thee.

And the pendulum of time swings – back and forth – every minute of every hour, of every day, month and year. But who knows when that pendulum of time will stop swinging eh?  Only Jehovah God, who created it, in the first place. It is not for man to know the plans God has for His universe, but to just accept them with humility and gratitude, while praising and worshipping the One who breathed the exotic breath of His eternal life into our frail, mortal bodies.  

Now, as another Sunday rolls around, we gather once more in joyful fellowship in God’s sanctuary to praise and worship, exalt and glorify His Holy Name, as he desires of us. And, as always, we’ll begin the worship by offering up the sacrifice of praise in song. Today’s opening hymn is an old one, ‘Jesus LOVER of my Soul,’ written by Charles Wesley way back in the 18th century. It’s one we all know and cherish, so let’s belt it out with great joy and enthusiasm. 

‘Jesus, LOVER of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high; hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past; safe into the haven guide, O receive my soul at last! Other refuge have I none; hangs my helpless soul on thee; leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me. All my trust on thee is stayed, all my help from thee I bring; cover my defenseless head with the shadow of thy wing. 

Plenteous grace with thee is found, grace to cover all my sin; let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within. Thou of life the fountain art; freely let me take of thee; spring thou up within my heart, rise to all eternity.’ 

Yes friends, Jesus had to LOVE our sinful souls, else why did He sacrifice His righteous life, taking our sin unto His shoulders, while giving us His righteousness? True LOVE could be the only answer. Jesus said it to His disciples. ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ (John 15:13) Then He went out and laid down His life for us all. 

But it all began with the Father, as Jeremiah reports in our Bit, when the Lord promised the restoration of Israel. ‘The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have LOVED thee with an everlasting LOVE: therefore with LOVING-kindness have I drawn thee.’ 

Yuh see how often He allowed Israel to be torn apart, then He LOVINGLY built them back up again. And it’s not only LOVE that God has for His human creation, but also infinite patience! Oh my people, what great and undying concern the Lord has for us! It’s almost impossible to understand the length and breadth and height and depth of it. 

As Bruh Paul said to the church at Rome: ‘For when we were yet without strength, in due time (at the right time), Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure (perhaps) for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth (demonstrates) his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom.5:6-8) 

As the scholars explain: ‘5:8. Christ died for us: His death was vicarious. That is, He did not die merely for our benefit, but in our place. His was a substitutionary sacrifice.’ Oh my people, how touching and heartwarming that is eh! Knowing that Christ died instead of me, so that I didn’t have to die an awful, sinful death… How much more should that make me LOVE Him and place my undying trust in all that He stands for! 

Oh my fellow believers, as we truly study it, the portrait of LOVE coming out of heaven, just keeps on getting bigger and deeper. How so, you ask?  Because Jesus didn’t have to die for us, but because He was sinless, He was the ONLY One who could atone for our sins, pay the sacrificial debt needed to wash and cleanse us and prevent us from being thrown into everlasting darkness. And being the wonderful and obedient Son that He was, He accepted the Father’s assignment without hesitation, and like a lamb, without a bleat, eventually went to the His awful death for our sakes. 

And now, ingrates that we are, we’re boldfaced enough to make nasty jokes about Him, mock Him, put Him down, offer blatant derision and blaspheme His holy name! But friends, that’s a fool’s wisdom, for time is truly longer than twine, and in God’s good time, He will send Jesus back into this horrible world to clean it up, and all those naysayers and unbelievers, and workers of iniquity will not be laughing then, because Jesus will be sitting on the throne of His father David in Jerusalem running things. Glory to God! 

So let the fools have their way now my brethren, we will have the last laugh when Jesus comes back in all His shining glory and mercurial splendor. Then ALL knees WILL bow before Him, and ALL voices WILL declare that He is Lord of all, to the everlasting glory of God the Father! 

Yes friends, that’s how it is going to be whenever the Lord decides it’s time to clean up this awful mess of His world that we have created. So please hang in there, stay focused on Jesus and in serious and sincere LOVE with Him, so that when He returns, we will be numbered amongst His entourage. Much LOVE!

…oh when the saints…go marching in…I want to be amongst that glorious number…oh when the saints…go marching in…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 November 2017 Proverbs 13:12.

Proverbs 13:12.   Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

And as the church bells peal the call to church, we put on our Sunday best and get ready to gather in the house of God, be it a magnificent cathedral or a manger like where Christ was born. The physical place is not as important as the people who gather in Christ’s name, and what they do there; sing, praise, worship and glorify His holy name. 

Oh friends, only the ole fogeys will remember the simpler days when church bells rang to tell us how long before church began. And you’d see a whole lot of us hurrying into church just as the last bell was ringing. (smile) But sadly church bells are now a thing of the past, just like church going is for way too many of us. 

Anyway, enough reminiscing, let’s get on with today’s proceedings. And we’ll open with this well-known 18th century hymn by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 90:1, to instill a sense of assurance and a place of refuge in Almighty God. 

So let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise like we’ve truly found that sense of assurance and place of refuge nuh. ‘O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home. Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; Sufficient is Thine arm alone, And our defense is sure. Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame, From everlasting Thou art God, To endless years the same. 

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust, “Return, ye sons of men”: All nations rose from earth at first, And turn to earth again. A thousand ages in Thy sight Are like an evening gone; Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun. The busy tribes of flesh and blood, With all their lives and cares, Are carried downwards by the flood, And lost in foll’wing years. 

Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Bears all its sons away; They fly, forgotten, as a dream Dies at the op’ning day. Like flow’ry fields the nations stand Pleased with the morning light; The flow’rs beneath the mower’s hand Lie with’ring ere ’tis night. O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Be Thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.’ 

Oh my people, those words come close, but they can’t really do our great God justice, for there are no words to truly describe what He means to mankind.  He is our BE ALL and END ALL! We are created by Him, live physical life under His dominion, then end up wherever He thinks our spiritual life is best suited. So since He is Master of ALL He surveys, true wisdom will dictate that we put ALL of our trust and hope in Him. 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘Hope deferred maketh the heart sick, but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.’ And we only had time yesterday to admit to that truth; when we don’t have hope, we’re depressed and miserable, but when we do have it, we’re revitalized and joy abounds. But what actually is that thing we call Hope eh? 

Here is an interesting definition from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) from His Hour of Power Devotional.  He says: ‘HOPE. It is a scientific experience of the presence of God operating in your personality… Your good luck is really your good Lord. Hope is a mystery. God always offers hope regardless of your beliefs, whether you are an agnostic or atheist. Hope is the presence of a God of LOVE coming into your mind, your spirit, your body, your personality. This is God. This is HOPE!’ 

And who are we to doubt him eh? However we define hope, it is important to realize that it comes from our LOVING Creator, and it is given to reassure and encourage us to have faith in Him. Moses so rightly declared in the opening of his psalm. ‘Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place (refuge) in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed (gave birth to) the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.’ (Ps.90:1-2)  And if all of that is true my people, then the only logical place to look for succour and refuge, to acquire that mysterious, scientific uplifting experience termed hope, is from Almighty God! 

And another stalwart of faith, Bruh David concurs completely with Moses, as he questions his depressed mood. ‘Why art thou cast (bowed) down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance (presence).’ (Ps.42:5) Yuh see friends, Bruh David is there seeking refuge, hope, relief from his depression, revitalization through God’s presence. And if we are wise, we will do the same thing. 

Now hear how Bruh Paul describes hope in his epistle to the Roman church, as he expounds on the results of justification. ‘And patience, experience (character); and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed (does not disappoint); because the LOVE of God is shed abroad (has been poured out) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time (at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly.’ (Rom.5:4-6) Yes friends, Christ died that we might have hope, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us is the living sign of that hope, as He walks and talks with and for us. 

And we’ll close with one more applicable scripture from Bruh Paul to the Romans, as he talks about Life in the Spirit. ‘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) (eagerly) wait for it.’ (Rom.8:24-25) Truer words were never spoken my brethren! Now let’s put our hope and trust in God nuh, so that our faith can be boosted and our lives become more Christ-like. Much LOVE!

…you can’t have faith without hope…for hope is the underlying nature…the foundation of faith…



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