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

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

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

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

‘Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Give me oil in my lamp, I pray. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Keep me burning till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!) Give me love in my heart, keep me sharing. Give me love in my heart, I pray. Give me love in my heart, keep me sharing. Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain) 

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Give me joy in my heart, I pray. Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Keep me singing till the break of day. (Refrain) Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying. Give me faith in my heart, I pray. Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying. Keep me praying till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!).’ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 February 2015 Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Ah Friends, it’s Tuesday, and we’re in the last days of our stay in Paradise! And as I gaze out at the wonders of nature, hear the birds and insects sing their songs of praise to their Creator, with the seas at high tide bashing against the rocky shore, I sadly realize that in another couple days I won’t be waking up to this beautiful panorama of God’s making, but to a scene of snow and ice, of cold and darkness.

Ah Lord eh! And the ole heart stutters and flutters as it comes to grip with the great seismic change. (smile) But you know the ole fella will take it in his stride, because that’s where the Lord has me based for the present time. This was only a vacation, a blessed change and reprieve from the uncomfortable aspects of winter in the North Country.

And if I claim to have faith and trust in our omnipotent God, and have surrendered my will to Him, then I have no choice but to grin and bear whatever He allows to come against me, trusting in His faithful promises that He won’t give me more than I can bear, neither will He leave nor forsake me, while working everything out eventually for my good.

Oh my people, what a good and mighty God we serve and worship! And I’ve been walking with Him long enough now to be fully aware and fully cognizant of His everlasting faithfulness. He’s brought me through enough rough situations before, so why should He stop now eh, especially when I’m more faithful to Him now than I’ve ever been?

So although there’s sadness and disappointment in my upcoming departure from God’s Little Acre, I am also bolstered by the fact that my God is able to do whatever He promises, and will provide for me in whatever situation I may be in.

Consequently, I’d like to share this prayer from a devotional titled ‘A Journey of LOVE – Walking with St. Therese of Liseux; the Saint of the Little Flower, who promised to spend her heaven doing good on earth, letting fall a shower of roses as her signature. However Friends, in these very rough and trying times, we shouldn’t wait till we get to heaven to do good on earth, we need to do that RIGHT NOW!

And what better time to begin than in this Lenten season of both intro and retrospection!

Please pray with me: ‘Lord, help me to live always in the light of your presence. Should any darkness challenge my belief and LOVE for you, dispel that darkness so that I might witness to your merciful and gracious LOVE. Grant me the wisdom to confront a secular and egocentric world with your message of care and compassion for all people. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.’

Yes my people, there’s so much darkness and evil in our current world that it’s only with the omnipotent help of Almighty God, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that we can ever hope to dispel and remove them from our lives. And it can ONLY be done through LOVE and compassion! So please let’s come together seriously nuh, and do what we know is meet and right for us to do.

The sad part of the situation is that we full well know what is right, but yet we allow the façade of the world’s false and short lasting beauty to lure us into wrongdoing and ungodly behavior. If we are truly children of God, then we desperately need to be walking according to the dictates of our Bit: ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’

That’s the gospel truth my brethren! And it reminds me of a quote of James Baldwin (1928-1987), the controversial African American novelist, playwright, poet and social critic, who continually reflected on his experience as a black man in white America, penning such insightful works as ‘The Fire Next Time and Another Country.’

Well James is reputed to have said: ‘The future is like heaven – everyone exalts it but no one wants to go there now.’ And that’s a very accurate reflection of Christians nowadays! We all want to live a godly life, but just not yet, first we want to enjoy the pleasures and lusts of the fleshly world.

But Friends we can’t afford to wait one minute longer to live for Jesus, because we don’t know when He’s coming back. It could be today or tomorrow. And if we’re found wanting when He returns, like the five foolish virgins who didn’t prepare for a long wait with extra oil for their lamps, (Matt.25:1-12) we’ll be simply excluded from His train of glory, and forced to spend eternity in Hades with Lucifer, the prince of darkness.

And as I keep reminding us, that my brethren is the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being! So let’s get to it nuh, let’s begin living serious godly lives, putting into effect these wise and true words of Bruh Paul to the Ephesians: ‘That ye put off concerning the former conversation (conduct) the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts;

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth to his neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; Neither give place to the devil…

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:22-27, 31-32)

Oh my Friends, that’s how we’re supposed to live! Those are just some simple, every day, practical guidelines as to how we can put aside the ‘old man’ and assume ‘the new man,’ in our everyday lives. They’re definitely not very difficult to do, so let’s begin doing them seriously, diligently and Right Now nuh, so that we won’t be caught napping whenever Jesus comes.

Let’s put into effect these memorable words of Jesus. ‘Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.’ (Matt.25:13)

That’s heavenly truth and wisdom my fellow man, words for us to ponder today, and see if we’re ready to receive Jesus, just in case He returns today. Much LOVE!

…to create a better world…it’s essential that we put into effect…LOVE for God…for ourselves…and for our neighbours… plus sincere care and compassion for each other…