Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 September 2020 Mark 4:41.

Mark 4:41.     ​What manner of man is this (who can this be), that even the wind and the sea obey him?

‘I am under the rock…the rock is higher than I, Jahovah hides me! Yes, I am under the rock…the rock is higher than I, Jahovah hides me… I am under the rock!’ Oh mih people, mih people, I sure hope you all are under the rock with me yes, because when the storms of life come howling through, as they most certainly will, and are currently doing, under the rock that’s Jesus, in the shelter of His safe, LOVING and comforting arms, is the only place that true refuge can be found! Why? Because He is the ONLY one who can calm those hungry angry winds of the storm! 

Case in point; the evening Jesus and His disciples were in the boat crossing over the to the other side and a most fearsome storm arose, so that it threatened the lives of those on the water. But where was Jesus eh? Mark says: ‘And he was in the hinder part (the stern) of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto him, Master, carest not thou that we perish?’ (Mark 4:38) Doesn’t that just make you chuckle? This great storm is happening, the boat is tossing and turning, most likely taking in water, but our wonderful Lord and Saviour is in the back of the boat quietly and serenely snoozing away like nothing is happening. 

But Jesus knew exactly what was happening and knew exactly what He would do. So Mark continues: ‘And he arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?’ (Mark 4:39-40) And that’s exactly what He’s saying to us in these trying and very troubled times my people: Where is your faith eh? The faith you talk about so much when things are going well, but seem to lose when times get tough. 

And what was the disciples’ reaction to all that eh? ‘And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this (who can this be), that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ (Mark 4:41) Oh my people, it was the Creator of the wind and the sea, so that’s why they obeyed Him! But unfortunately, although the disciples had seen Jesus do other miracles, their faith in the actual time of storm was not good enough. But that’s how Jesus operates; often questioning us in order to spur us on to deeper trust and faith. 

And the scholars offer an interesting explanation of the scriptures here: ‘4:35-5:43. Jesus takes His disciples from the classroom to the laboratory. Having just taught that God’s power will cause His kingdom to grow to worldwide proportion and influence – the parable of the mustard seed – (4:30-32), Jesus now performs four miracles that demonstrate this divine might. God’s power is seen overcoming (1) the danger of a storm (4:35-41); (2) demons in a victim possessed (5:1-20); (3) disease in a woman physically ravished (5:21-34); and (4) the death of a little girl (5:35-43).’ 

But friends, we can’t be too hard on the disciples nuh, for as the scholars further state: ‘4:41. The fear must have been a mixture of reverential awe and real fright – it would be chillingly eerie to witness the instantaneous dissipation of a violent storm.’ And so it surely would be to all of us, regardless of how much we knew about Jesus’ divine might! But as Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer says: ‘When God awakens you to His presence, everything becomes a whole lot more meaningful.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! Once you truly understand what’s happening with Christ in your life, your entire life takes on a whole new perspective. 

And talking about refuge in Christ and being under the rock, causes me to think of two interesting situations, the one of Moses, and the other of Elijah. Both were going through some difficult times in their earthly ministry. Moses prayed for God’s presence to lead him in the exodus of Israel from Egypt. He desired God’s assurance: ‘show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight; And consider that this nation is thy people.’ (Ex. 33:13). And the Lord agreed. ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’ (Ex. 33:14) 

But Moses still was not satisfied, and later said: ‘I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he (the Lord) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee… (but) Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift (cleft) of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.’ (Ex. 33:18-23) 

And I like this explanation that www.frankgantz.com/the-cleft-in-the-rock offers: ‘A cleft is a narrow space or split. This would have put rock under Moses’ feet, behind his back and on either side of him. In a sense he was wedged into this rock which would hold him in place and provide a stable base. From that vantage point he would behold the back of God’s glory.’ That makes sense doesn’t it. 

The same thing with Elijah; after killing the prophets of Baal he got tired and discouraged and ran away into the wilderness hoping to die. But God made him rest by a brook for a couple of days and fed him divinely. Then he went for forty days and nights in the strength of that food to Mt. Horeb and hid in a cave there. But the Lord called and asked what He was doing there and he claimed that he was tired and scared after being very zealous in doing the Lord’s work, but the children of Israel had forsaken the Lord and wanted to kill him. 

‘And he (the Lord) said, Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord: (1 Kin. 19:1-11) And an earthquake happened, but the Lord was not in it. Then a fire, but the Lord wasn’t in that either. ‘…and after the fire a still, small voice (delicate whispering voice). And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering (entrance) of the cave.’ And there the Lord spoke with him, strengthened and reassured him, then sent him back to continue his ministry. (1 Kin. 19:11-18) 

Yes friends, when we are weak and discouraged, and think we can’t go on, the most desirous place to be is in the comfort of God’s arms, in that safe cleft of rock on the mountain top that shows His mighty power. He will give us the peace and calm and the reassurance that we all need at times, to continue to be of service to Him here on earth. 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know who and whose we are. In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

And now it’s time to put those words into godly action! Much LOVE!

…the best place to recuperate…in the LOVING arms of God… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 March 2020 Psalm 107:29.

Psalm 107:29.    ​He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
 
Ah friends, this late night and early morning business will eventually kill me yes! (smile) But that’s just the nature of the beast. Some of us are made to be early birds and others night owls. It just so happens that I fall amongst the latter, but still have to get up and write the Bit at a decent hour. And to make matters worse, the computer is slow, guess too many people are on the internet with so many things shut down. And rather unwisely (smile) just now I agreed to a restart for an update, when I had other options, but it simply stood there spinning its wheels, so I had to shut it down and reboot it. 

Ah Lord eh! The things the enemy talks us into doing! (smile) But not to worry, with the Lord’s awesome help, we will accomplish whatever He sends us out to do. And on this bright and sunshiny Saturday morning, it’s His pleasure to keep us all safe and sound from whatever our ever-lurking foe throws against us! So let’s remember to give Him much thanks and praise for being our wonderful guardian Shepherd, especially in these unusual and abnormal calamitous times, so suddenly precipitated by the Covid -19 virus. And all God’s children said a loud and grateful ‘Praise the Lord for His absolute kindness to the children of men! His mercies are new every day and endureth forever. Amen!’ 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this week nuh, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Here’s the first one. ‘It’s not about money or connections, it’s the willingness to out work and out learn everyone. And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.’ Now that’s certainly an interesting quote, and there’s lots of truth in it. However, I’m not so sure about the out working and out learning everybody else. 

We must be diligent and excellent in our endeavours, but I think it’s somewhat impractical to always be trying to out work and out learn everybody around us. I believe we’re wasting valuable time and energy in the competition aspect, which could be better used in other areas. But we must always try to learn from our mistakes and do better the next time around. 

Now hear this one: ‘There is always one more thing to learn.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth my people. Whilst there is life, there are always things to be learned! And despite our age, the old folks say that we should try and learn at least one new thing each and every day. Why? Because learning is the basic foundation of life! If you don’t learn, you can’t live life successfully. 

And that’s the problem so many of us are having nowadays, believers included; for whatever reason, we’re not upgrading ourselves sufficiently in the things that matter most in life; the things of God. Please note Cousin Sol’s words in Proverbs. ‘A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto (acquire) wise counsels.’ (Prov.1:5) 

That brings us to this next interesting quote: ‘When you can’t control what’s happening challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.’ Now that’s something for all we believers to hold on to very tightly. Yes my people, it’s all about attitude; our attitude towards prevailing circumstances. How we respond to those circumstances, especially those over which we have no control, is what’s going to make or break us. Responding to things like anger, rejection or abuse with the same attitude does us no good whatsoever. 

Forget the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth saying. Jesus said to LOVE your enemies, and forgive those who do us wrong. And that’s wisdom of everlasting proportions, for responding in kind is only going to prolong the negative circumstances and cause even more confusion and adversity. Remember Bruh Paul’s invaluable words to the church at Rome: ‘Recompense to (repay) no man evil for evil… Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Rom. 12:17a, 21) 

Yes friends, it’s always better to come up over whatever is challenging us with a positive, godly attitude, than a negative, ungodly one. There is simply more good energy in the positive and godly attitude, and it will help us to better handle whatever is coming against us. And there’s no better time to apply it than RIGHT NOW with the serious problems that our world is facing! And this last quote, shows that our friend Anselm is on top of things. (smile) ‘As we deal with the Coronavirus, remember “To ride out your storm”.’ 

Oh friends, that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to teach us these past tough days; we need to ride out these stormy times. And the ONLY WAY to do that successfully is through faith, trust and surrender in Almighty God! For He creates the storms, and He also calms them! And if you don’t believe me, then listen to these scriptures. Ethan, the Ezrahite, in his contemplative psalm – God’s sure promises to David, puts it thus: ‘O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? Or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.’ (Ps.89:8-9) 

Now hear the words of the psalmist from Psalm 107 – God’s wonderful works to the children of men. ‘For he commandeth and rasieth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.’ (Ps.107:25) And when we in fear, reeling to and fro, cry out to Him. ‘He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.’ (Ps. 107:29) Mama Mia! What a most powerful and merciful Deity we serve and worship my faithful brethren! 

And we all know or ought to know (smile) the famous story of Jesus and the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee and the terrible tempest that arose and how the disciples were so scared and awoke Jesus who was sleeping comfortably in the stern. And His immortal words to them: ‘Why are ye so fearful, O Ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, what manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him.’ (Matt. 8:26-27) 

Oh my people, that’s not rocket science, it’s simple logic: The Lord made the seas and the winds, and still controls them, so when He speaks to them, it’s obvious they respond the way He wants them to. What a pity that His greatest creation – mankind – doesn’t respond in the same obedient manner to His will and wishes! Much LOVE!

…if Jesus is your life pilot…then the inevitable storms…won’t be disastrous…