Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 November 2016 Ecclesiastes 5:1.

Ecclesiastes 5:1.    Keep thy foot (walk prudently) when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear (draw near to hear, rather) than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. 

All hail, my fellow believers in Jesus Christ! It’s a glorious Tuesday morning…Praise the Lord! 

Yes friends, we’ve been granted another eventful day on God’s great earth! Wow! Isn’t He wonderful to us unworthy children of men? He surely is! That’s why we ought to give Him a lot of thanks and praise throughout the day. 

And to do that, some of us might just need these words of encouragement from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) from his Hour of Power Devotional. It’s titled ‘Learn to Know God.’ 

Please pray with me: ‘ Dear Jesus, I’ve got to know You better. Please help me! I can feel my spiritual and emotional walls crack. I can hear old chains break. I can feel my heart opening like a heavy old door whose ancient seals have just begun to break. 

I can sense the footsteps of Jesus walking into my life. I am beginning to experience the joy of a soul that is being saved, a life that is being born again. Thank You, Lord! Life’s not fair, but God is good. Amen!’ 

Ah my people, when Jesus is walking in our lives there’s such joy in our souls, and such pep in our steps! For remember, ‘the joy of the Lord is our strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) 

And to further raise the joy in our souls, the level of our faith and the pep in our steps this Tuesday morning, let’s declare our Tuesday Mantra with the utmost sincerity and belief. 

As one now: ‘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!’ 

Yes mih breddren, it’s certainly a wonderful God we believe in and great Friend and Saviour we have in Jesus! Nothing in this world can beat it! 

We just have to remember whose we are, and behave in a fashion suitable to their ideals and principles; basically living a godly life and sharing the LOVE of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

And the awesome advice in our Bit will surely help us to do that. ‘Keep thy foot (walk prudently) when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear (draw near to hear, rather) than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.’ 

Yeh friends, we’re still on that Bit because it covers such a wide area, especially where our mouths and our promises are concerned. We can either be righteous or evil with those two things. And James deals with them very nicely, obviously pointing us towards the righteous aspect. 

Listen to him: ‘Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. For the wrath of man worketh not (does not produce) the righteousness of God.’ (James 1:19-20) 

And the scholars add this info to those verses. ‘1:19. This is a key verse because it expresses three topics that James develops later: hearing, verses 19-27; speaking, 3:1-12; and wrath, 4:1-12.’ 

‘1:20. Trials require silence and patience because talk inflames anger, and anger inflames talk. Anger also distracts from listening to God.’ So true friends, so true! 

And later on in that same passage, James tells us in no uncertain terms: ‘If any man among you seem to be (thinks he is) religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain (useless).’ (James 1:26) 

What indisputable truth! We can’t claim to be truly religious if we don’t know how, what and when to speak. The old adage that says ‘silence is golden,’ is very true on a lot of occasions. 

We’d be better served by remaining silent than by batting our gums, for as Cousin Sol reminds us: ‘Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace (keeps silent), is counted wise (is considered wise): and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.’ (Prov.17:28) 

And I pray: ‘O Lord please help me to hold my peace, to shut my lips, so that I will be considered a man of understanding, even though I’m a fool!’ (smile) 

Ah friends, sometimes our mouths are our worst enemy, our tongues cost us more heartache than anything else. As James says: ‘Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter (forest) a little fire kindleth (sets on fire). 

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue (the tongues is so set) among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature (existence); and it is set on fire of hell.’ (James 3:5-6) 

And the scholars explain: ‘3:6.  The tongue is a system (world) of iniquity that sets on fire the whole course of life, and is even set on fire by Satan (cf.3:15).’ 

Yes precious people of God, the tongue is one of the smallest parts of our bodies, but it has unnatural control of the entire body. Since the beginning of time, our tongues have caused more war and strife than anything else, but we still can’t, or refuse to bridle them. 

Thus our lives are oftimes turned topsy-turvy by the words that trip off of our tongues. But today, I implore us to take good care, to ask the Holy Spirit to help us keep silent and think before we talk, and then to only talk that which is: ‘For the perfecting (equipping) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.’ (Eph.4:12) 

If we successfully do that, then our lives and our world will surely become more a representation of paradise, than one of hell, as it currently is. Much LOVE!

…many of us would be better off…if we had no tongues…harsh…but true…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 November 2016 Ecclesiastes 5:1.

Ecclesiastes 5:1.    Keep thy foot (walk prudently) when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear (draw near to hear, rather) than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.’

Awright friends, it’s Monday, so what’s it going to be eh? Are we going to be grumpy and complain, or are we going to rise and shine with a good, joy-filled attitude, ready and eager to go out and face this new workweek? The choice is up to us, but I do hope that as true believers in Jesus Christ we would adopt the latter option, for it is the more Christ-like one. 

However, I know that all of us are human, filled with human frailties, so it’s not every Monday morning  we’ll be filled with energy and enthusiasm to take the bull by the horns and wrestle him to the ground. (smile) 

That’s why we have an antidote for such days. It’s called our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. It gets us all fired up so we can meet the enemy head on and defeat him. 

So let’s sing out in full, harmonious and melodic voice now. ‘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!’ 

Yes mih breddren, except for a few hoarse voices, that was a decent rendition. Our choirmaster, Jesus, had an amused twinkle in His eyes as He guided us with His baton. And once Jesus is happy with us, then all’s right with the world! (smile) 

So now that we’ve jump started our engines, let’s keep them running at high speed, keep the pedal to the metal, so to speak, and just go out there in a good frame of mind and do excellent work for Jesus, for that’s what He expects of us. 

And I do hope, for our sakes, we kept the wisdom of our Bit yesterday: ‘Keep thy foot (walk prudently) when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear (draw near to hear, rather) than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.’ What awesome words of wisdom my fellow believers! 

And here’s how the Preacher ended that passage. ‘Suffer not (do not let) thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel (messenger) that it was an error, wherefore should God be angry at thy voice (excuse) and destroy the work of thy hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities (futility abounds): but fear thou God.’ (Eccl.5:6-7) 

Ah mih people, more wonderful words of wisdom! Yuh know, if we’d just follow the first 7 verses of that chapter, we’d be almost perfect! We can start by walking prudently, drawing near to hear, rather than that to expatiate, not give the sacrifice of fools, thinking that we’re not evil. That’s an awesome beginning! 

As Samuel admonished Saul when he disobeyed God’s order to fully destroy the Amalekites. ‘And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (divination), and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.’ (1 Sam.15:22-23)  

Yes friends, obedience to God’s word is the zenith of wisdom! And the scholars tell us, re those verses: ‘15:22-23. These verses reinforce the Old Testament viewpoint that religious ritual devoid of spiritual reality and of a life of total allegiance to a sovereign Lord is worthless (cf. Ps.40:6-8; Is.1:10-20; Mic.6:8).’ 

And that’s gospel truth! Why do you think the Lord checks our hearts instead of just simply accepting our outward show eh? Because He knows that the real you is on the inside, and it doesn’t necessarily match with what you are showing on the outside. Many of us today, are just like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time; put on a great religious outward show, but are empty and evil inside. 

Now let’s continue looking at those 7 verses at the start of chapter 5. The 2nd verse warns us not be rash with our mouths and make hasty statements to God; to let our words be few. Oh friends, what a godsend it would be to this world, if most of us would stop talking as much as we do! And that lines up nicely with the wisdom of verse 3; ‘a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.’  

And we’ll end with the best advice; don’t make a promise to God and not keep it, because He doesn’t take pleasure in broken promises. It is better not to promise, than promise and not pay. And as I said yesterday, that also pertains to our dealings with fellow human beings. 

So let’s keep that in mind as we go out to labour today nuh, for it will certainly stand us in good stead, both with God and man. Much LOVE!

…it’s time Christians learn to do less talking and more listening…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 November 2016 Ecclesiastes 5:1.

Ecclesiastes 5:1   Keep thy foot (walk prudently) when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear (draw near to hear, rather) than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

Aye mih people, a blessed Sabbath Day to you and yours!  And we’ll begin as usual with some praise and worship to get us ready, to get our hearts softened up for the Word. So let’s belt out that wonderful hymn we all know and LOVE, ‘Amazing Grace’! Let’s raise our sacrifices of praise heavenward, like we truly mean it nuh. 

‘Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see. ’twas Grace that taught, my heart to fear. And grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed. 

Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come. ’tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead us home. The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures. 

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun. We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now, I see.’ 

Yes friends, it’s all through God’s amazing grace that we can aspire to heavenly things and places! Without His saving grace, we would truly be lost like a thirsty man in an endless expanse of desert, only seeing mirages, or a rudderless ship adrift in the dark on a storm tossed sea.  Only through God’s grace can we find an oasis in the desert, or a clear path in the storm. 

That reminds me of the picture in one of my Bibles showing a ship caught in a storm with a young lad standing at the ship’s steering wheel that’s bigger than him, but comfortingly, behind the lad stands Jesus, with His left hand on the boy’s left shoulder and His right hand pointing the way through the storm.  

Ah friends, that’s how it is with all those who sincerely believe in Jesus and seek His saving grace; He takes us gently by the arm and guides us safely through the fearful storms of life. Now, given that generous life-line of grace, I don’t understand why anyone in their right mind wouldn’t have a great desire to associate with Jesus. But, I guess, if you don’t believe His Word, then you won’t see any reason for such an association. 

All I can say friends, is that I’m truly sorry for those who, for whatever reason, pass up the wonderful opportunity to walk closely with Jesus. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, so let’s pray that they will come to their senses before their earthly lives are over, because then that glorious opportunity will cease to exist. 

Oh, before we get to our Bit, let me apologize for a typo in yesterday’s message. Don’t know how many of you noticed it, but one heading had the 5th of November while the other had the 4th

Chuh! I didn’t notice it until after I sent out the Bit. Obviously it annoyed me, but it was too late do anything about it then. And it all stems from laziness yes, copying the heading rather than typing it all over again, then forgetting to change the date. Ah Lord eh! I guess that just shows that I’m human, and thus liable to make mistakes. (smile) 

Then this morning the clocks went back an hour, bringing an end to Daylight Saving Time. I don’t know why we continue the practice nuh, because it doesn’t seem to help anybody I know, and many other countries don’t use it and seem to get by very well. But them’s the breaks, we just have to grin and bear it, and once more figure out and remember the time difference in places we deal with. 

Anyway, we’ve finally come to our Bit, a caution against hasty vows, which seems rather appropriate for this Sunday morning as we go to church. ‘Keep thy foot (walk prudently) when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear (draw near to hear, rather) than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.’ 

A very timely bit of advice indeed my brethren! And the Preacher continues: ‘Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business (effort or activity); and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.’ (Eccl.5:2-3) 

Yes friends, wisdom for the ages from Cousin Sol, writing as the Preacher. And the scholars enlighten us thus. ‘5:1-7. The emphasis of the passage is on the folly of an empty religious profession before a sovereign God: God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth. God expects sincerity and meaningfulness in worship. He is not impressed with foolish vows.’ 

Ah mih people, unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, a lot of us offer lengthy prayers and make rash, unwise promises to God, which we obviously can’t or don’t intend to keep. 

But listen to these awesome words of wisdom from the Preacher. ‘When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer (delay) not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.’ (Eccl.5:4-5) 

The truth of the matter though my fellow believers is that wisdom doesn’t only apply to our dealings with Almighty God, but should apply to our dealings with all humans! As sincere followers of Jesus, it is imperative that we keep our promises to all and sundry. He keeps all of His promises, and consequently expects us to do the same. 

Sadly though, our social media revolution has made this a time of many words – most of them foolish and unnecessary – and rash promises – many of which we have no intention of keeping, or simply can’t keep. That’s why we are cautioned to not promise, rather than to promise and not pay. Please let that be our motto from now on my people, it will keep us out of many troubles. Much LOVE!

…whatever happened to the old adage…promises were meant to be kept…not broken…