Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 December 2010 Proverbs 30:12‏

Proverbs 30:12.    There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
 
Oh Friends, it’s the eve of New Year’s Eve! Wow! What a profound and potent statement! (smile) I guess all the preparations are in full swing for the numerous parties, the countdown, the hoarse and off-key singing of Auld Lang Syne, because most of the people are already in their cups when that happens, and the many New Year’s resolutions we’re going to make, plus all the hugging and kissing and the ‘Happy New Year’ greetings that will be so lavishly dished out. But Friends, please don’t go overboard. It’s surely nice to party and have fun and ring in the New year, but unfortunately nothing much changes. Two days later we’re right back where we began. In fact many people open the New Year in worse shape than they closed the Old one. it’s all part of the worldly, money grabbing, fleshly lusts, where we allow our feelings and emotions to run riot. But do sit down and take notice. Nothing really changes from one day to the next, except possibly our false expectations are brought back to reality. It does nothing to curtail the unconscionable violence, hatred, poverty, oppression, corruption, hunger, sickness and the myriad of other problems under which our world is currently labouring and suffering. Even all our Happy New Year greetings are empty, because a few days later we either pass those same people on the street or at work without even a smile or a nod of recognition, and the resentment we felt in the Old Year raises its ugly head again. As for the resolutions…hn! Before the week is out, we’ve either broken most of them or retired them to oblivion because we just can’t be bothered to keep them. The old ways were so much nicer and easier. (smile) And as I heard a guest on a radio show last night quite rightly say: If the resolution is worthy, then there’s no need to wait until New Year’s, it ought to be started RIGHT NOW! And I say Amen to that! Oh Friends, don’t think that I’m ‘dissing’ New Year’s Eve partying, because I have wonderful memories of some, and I won’t be doing any partying this year because of my knee problems, but like Christmas just past, we have to know and understand the whys and wherefores of the celebration. It’s fine to ring out the Old and ring in the New Year, but it must be done from a sensible standpoint, feet firmly planted on the ground, not from a giddy sense of worldly pleasure, because our world certainly doesn’t need just another feel-good moment, with no real substance behind it. But enough of my whatever you choose to call it. Let’s get to our Bit, which Agur, the sage, prophetically diagnosed so long ago. ‘There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.’ That’s the living truth Friends! Many of us, especially in this free-for-all, ungodly society of today, feel we are the cat’s meow, in our own eyes, so clean and pure, noble and righteous, when in reality we’re servants of Beelzebub. We put on all the airs and graces in company, but behind closed doors, hn, it’s a completely different story. And if our hearts are analysed, the dirt and evil contained therein would be most worthy of Lucifer, but definitely not of Almighty God. Oh my people, though some of us might truly believe that we’re pure and holy, that is the work of the enemy, since our actions don’t corroborate our words. And to clarify it all, let’s hear some scripture that deals with this particular problem. We’ll begin with wise words from Cousin Sol: ‘All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.’ (Prov.16: 2) Yes Friends, the Lord searches our hearts and souls for right motives, while man can only see our outward colours. Now hear the Lord talking of the punishment for the rebellious, through His prophet Isaiah: A people ‘Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose (cause my wrath to smoke), a fire that burneth all the day. Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom.’ (Is.65:5-6) Oh mih breddren, when we make those holier than thou decrees, we’re only stoking the Lord’s anger against us. And we all know people who behave like that, so it’s not merely a figment of my imagination. Now listen to Jesus tell it like it is. With His superb understanding of human behaviour, He puts it into a true practical perspective. ‘Two men went into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican (tax collector). The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote (beat) upon his breast, saying, God be merciful unto me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’ (Luke 18:10-14) Oh Friends, that’s self-explanatory! But for good measure, here are some words of Bruh Paul to Titus, re warnings against false teachers. ‘Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate (disqualified).’ (Titus 1:15-16) My brethren, those are words of truth and wisdom, I implore us to heed them if we want to remain in the Father’s good graces, for we’re each responsible for our own salvation. Much LOVE!…remember…the world sees our outer man…but God judges us by the inner being…
 
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Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 December 2010 Ezekiel 8:12‏

Ezekiel 8:12.    Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.
 
Oh Friends, some days I wonder if it isn’t better to read your name in the obits than not to. (smile) Our world has reached such a state of evil and looming violence that sometimes one feels like Bruh Paul: ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ (Phil.1:21) He means that though in life one magnifies the Lord, yet to die, to get away from this evil world is better because it’s a promotion, an increase to something better, namely a heavenly presence with Christ, where you no longer have to put up with the world and all its evil nonsense. Our world has certainly become a very taxing place to live, both literally and figuratively, and the things done behind closed doors…hn! Some of them would certainly boggle our imaginations if we knew them. The few that I know about already cause me to seriously wonder about mankind, so can you imagine what those I don’t know about would do? Steups! Ah mih people, it’s amusing but also rather sad when we talk of how history repeats itself. But our world is at a stage now where it greatly resembles the Israel of Ezekiel’s day, when he had the vision of the abominations going on in Jerusalem and thereabouts. The Lord brought these abominations to his attention. ‘Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients (elders) of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery (room of his idols)? for they say, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth (land).’ Ah Friends, another sad fact is that it’s the leaders, those in high places who are engaging in most of the abomination; the secret worshipping of idols and false gods. And if the leaders are doing it, it’s only natural for the people, or at least some of them, to follow the leaders’ lead. As Bruh Paul so aptly puts it in his message to the Ephesians: ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world (age), against spiritual (hosts of) wickedness in high places.’ (Eph.6:12) That’s why believers need to be fully clothed in spiritual armour if we want to successfully thwart those attacks of the spiritual enemy. The real sorrowful part though is that just like those engaged in the evil abominations in Ezekiel’s time figured the Lord didn’t see them, because He had abandoned their land, it’s the same way the fools engaged in high wickedness today feel; there’s no God, and if there is, He doesn’t care anyway. It sounds just as Bruh David says in his psalm, re the foolishness of men. ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.’ (Ps.14:1) Isaiah said it even more explicitly: ‘Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay (you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay): for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed (formed) say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?’ (Is.29:15-16) Oh Friends, please don’t be fooled by the foolishness of men. The Lord God Jehovah is alive and well, and firmly in control of everything. He sees and knows all, but He’s just allowing some of us foolish and evil men to play at being god and think they’re running things. But have you ever noticed, that throughout history, it’s when the evil rulers reach the peak, the zenith of their power that it suddenly begins to fall apart? Instead of being strengthened it generally dissolves, often in fire and brimstone too. That’s the Lord’s hand intervening my Friends. He never allows us to really get too big for our breeches. The real question though my people is how did we get to this high level of wickedness and evil in just a generation? Thirty years ago, we were nowhere close to it. Half of the stuff that now leads us down the garden path didn’t even exist. Here is another truth that the Lord spoke unto Ezekiel that also pertains to our time. ‘Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood (bloodshed), and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth (land), and the Lord seeth not.’ (Ezek.9:9) Oh Friends, that’s so true that it hurts deeply. The earth is thoroughly soaked with human blood, for bloodshed seems to be one of our favourite pastimes. And there are atrocities and perverseness galore, everywhere. And we still foolishly believe that the Lord doesn’t see. Ah Lord eh! But Friends, please listen very closely to these words of the Lord’s to Ezekiel: ‘And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head (repay their deeds).’ (Ezek.9:10) Oh my people, please do not be fooled by the false promises and directions of the wicked, for they shall eventually pay for their wickedness. Contrary to popular opinion, the Lord is orchestrating things, and in His own time and manner, the wicked will be destroyed and the faithful saved. But it’s also time for us to wake up and pay serious attention to what’s happening in our world, and not be taken in by the mad rush for earthly power and glory that seems to be so widespread today, because you’ll end up selling your soul to Beelzebub if you do. And you know that means eternal separation from God; the worst thing that can ever happen to a child of God! So please be careful. Much LOVE!…trust in the Lord…wait on Him…do good…and He will uplift you in His time…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 December 2010 Mark 4:30

Mark 4:30.     And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
 
Happy Christmas Tuesday Friends! Oh yes, it’s still Christmas! In fact it should always be Christmas. Why? The Christmas spirit should prevail year round because we’re so joyful and happy that Jesus came to earth and bought us salvation and eternal life, that peace, joy and goodwill to all men would be a natural outgrowth of that positive emotion. Okay, so it’s a bit much to ask, but why dream small, when big dreams are so much more enjoyable and profitable eh? (smile) Oh Friends, the peace joy and goodwill of the season is till with us. Please pray that it doesn’t return to the old cutthroat, backstabbing, resentful, angry mode too soon, because we all know that it eventually will. To counteract that attitude though, we need to incorporate our Bit into the lives of as many people as possible. It’s jesus telling the parable of the mustard seed. ‘And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison (parable) shall we compare (picture) it?’ And that’s a very good question my people! But as always, Jesus provides an answer. And if anybody should know, it’s Him. ‘It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less (smaller) than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air (birds) may lodge under the shadow (shade) of it.’ (Mark 4:31-32) Yes Friends, Jesus in His wisdom stuck with the agrarian comparisons because that’s what His listeners best understood. So He takes one of the smallest seeds on earth, the mustard seed, and paints the picture of it being planted, in rich, fertile soil now. Then when it grows, it becomes bigger than all the other herb trees which had larger seeds. In fact it’s so large, having great branches, that it provides a perch of shade, rest and comfort for the birds. Wow! Yes my people, that is how Jesus saw His kingdom being built. Though what He was doing at the time, preaching the message of salvation, seemed insignificant and not making much headway, He dreamed that it would eventually be promoted and promulgated till it encompassed the entire earth and all its inhabitants, providing both material and spiritual sustenance for all who took shade under it’s wide umbrella. Now that’s what you call a worthwhile and purposeful dream, my Friends! But to tell the truth, that’s the same way most things are built; starting small, from the ground up, putting down strong foundations, so that the resultant large edifice will not sink or topple over, because it’s well grounded. Each believer is also supposed to be like a grain of mustard seed. Whatever ministry God calls us to perform in His Name, we’ve got to plant it in fertile soil, then nourish and nurture it with His ever present help, and add it to the worldwide movement. Each of is is like a branch of the beautiful vine called Jesus, and we need to be fruitful and multiply so that we can increase the kingdom and make Jesus’ dream come true. However my people, we can only do that by staying in God’s good grace, by being obedient to His will, otherwise our ministry won’t flourish, and it will be eventually cut off the vine and burnt like trash. Now I doubt that any serious believer wants that to happen to them, so let’s all get out into the cruel and evil world and sow some good seed in some fertile ground. And the only way to truly do that is by LOVING our God, LIVING our Faith, and SPREADING  the Word. Now please note that ALL three conditions are necessary to fulfill the job. And we’ll end with some scriptures that show some serious ministry and kingdom building in the Chruch’s early days. And the most obvious one is Peter’s address to the people at Pentecost, after the apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit. ‘And with many other words did he tetify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward (crooked) generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about thre thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.’ (Acts 2:40-42) Note too Friends, the most important thing in those verses is not so much that many people believed, but afterwards they continued believing and followed the dictates of the gospel. The quest is not for fly-by-night believers, but for eternal souls. Then there’s the time John and Peter were preaching in the temple, which caused them to be later imprisoned, but nonetheless the Good Book states: ‘Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of men was about five thousand.’ (Acts.4:4) Furthermore, during the apostles sojourn in Jerusalem they did so many signs and wonders amongst the people that all those afflicted with a malady flocked to the temple and its environs hoping to get healed. ‘And believers were the more (increasingly) added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.’ (Acts 5:14) And the last passage concerns Bruh Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. The Good Book proudly proclaims: ‘So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.’ (Acts 19:20) Oh Friends, the job of growing Jesus’ kingdom like a flourishing mustard tree is now ours. Have we embraced that duty with all our hearts, minds and souls? If not, then we should begin NOW! And if we have, let’s up the ante, because our world is on the brink of a truly violent and war-like period, and it’s only the far reaching tentacles of the Word that can ever bring it back from the disaster it’s currently courting. MuchLOVE!…for the children’s sake…let’s turn our world around…using the LOVE of Jesus…
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 December 2010 Psalm 140:4‏

Psalm 140:4.     Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.

Oh Friends, it’s Monday! A lucky day for some who have it off, because Christmas and Boxing Days fell on the weekend, but not so lucky for many who have to go back out and labour today. That means we still need to sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. So let’s get right to it: ‘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 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!’ And in light of what we just prayed, I believe we have a very suitable Bit, taken from Bruh David’s prayer for deliverance from evil men. ‘Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings (to make my steps stumble).’ And believe me Friends, there are many such people in our world. I’ve never been one to think evil of people, possibly because of my naivety (smile) and my upbringing, but sadly my brethren, over the last few years my eyes have truly been opened to the magnitude of wickedness and evil in our world, and often right below our unsuspecting noses. Thankfully, I still haven’t been undone by evil people. Although a few have betrayed me, none of them, for your information, have prospered more than me, neither materially nor spiritually. Praise be to a Most Faithful God! And since I’ve been writing this Bit, my faith and trust in the Most High has certainly increased.  This has helped me to put those betrayals behind me, and still not look for deception in every nook and cranny. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all wine and roses, but through the Lord’s great mercies, I have been saved several times from hitting rock bottom. And though there might be deception in and around us Friends, we can’t allow ourselves to focus on that, but rather be careful of whom you allow into your inner circle and concentrate on the good that God has in store for us. If we pay too much attention to darkness, or look for wickedness and deceit everywhere, we’ll just end up going nowhere, doing nothing worthwhile and thus producing no good fruit for the kingdom. Oh my people, the Lord has faithfully promised never to leave or forsake us, and if we have sincerely believed in His Word, then there’s no need to go around constantly seeking darkness in the light. Suffice it to know that darkness does exist, and occasionally it will try to overshadow our light. But then again, since light is stronger than darkness, and you can’t have shadows without light, we ought not to dwell on the evil that exists, but on the good that both surpasses and suppresses it. Remember too that our minds are God’s greatest invention, and what we think on, is usually what we become. Oh my brethren, when the forces of evil do come against us, we need to always turn to God first, and like the psalmist who cried for help in his old age, possibly plead: ‘Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth. By thee have I been holden up (upheld from birth) from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels (womb): my praise shall be continually of thee.’ (Ps.71:4-6) Yes Friends, let us not be afraid of the evil doers or of their evil ways, because as our Leader and Saviour, Jesus Christ has boldly and truthfully proclaimed: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) That’s gospel mih Friends, so please keep on standing strong and steadfast in the Lord Jesus, and don’t let the enemy frighten you, for once you have Christ’s mark on you, you’re untouchable. Much LOVE!…oh believers…let the light of Jesus in you…brightly shine forth…into a dark and evil world…that’s our mandate…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 December 2010 Psalm 41:13‏

Psalm 41:13.     Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.

Oh Friends, the BIG DAY is over now! But please note that the Christmas Season is not, so let’s continue to portray and put into action those sentiments that the angels proclaimed when Jesus was born: ‘PEACE ON EARTH; AND GOODWILL TO MEN!’ Oh mih people, those words evoke such a powerful and godly inclination that our world would instantly turn into a paradise if more of humanity followed them. And yuh know, if only the majority of Christians applied it, our earth would still be much improved, since we Christians talk a good talk but too often don’t follow it up with the necessary action. And here’s a recent example of that. I heard of these believers going to one family’s home after church on a Sunday morning for brunch. In that group, there was one man apparently deeply indebted emotionally to the older homeowner for their Christian support during a rough time of grief, when his wife passed away. Now some disagreement arose between both men over some innocuous matter, and my talebearer (smile) was most shocked at the manner in which the younger man berated the older one, in front of all their church companions, so soon after church. Obviously that soured the gathering to some extent and could not be construed as peace and goodwill either. Here’s an even more telling example. My local church building houses three different denominations with relations not the best between them, mostly because of monetary matters. But in any case, on a Sunday morning when I’m leaving, another denomination is coming in, and would you believe that many of them pass me by with a stone face, not even a smile or a good morning greeting. I guess I’m also guilty of not engaging them in a friendly Christian manner. Oh mih breddren, what ever happened to 3 Canal’s engaging dictum eh: ‘Morning Neighbuh, morning?’ (smile) But unfortunately Friends, it’s those kinds of things that unbelievers see and hear about that turns them off of the Christian experience. And you really can’t blame them if believers in the same ONE, TRUE, GREAT GOD can’t at least be civil to each other. No wonder the enemy is busy, successfully removing our God from our lives bit by bit, because instead of fighting the evil enemy, we’re fighting our supposed brothers and sisters in Christ. What a crying shame my brethren! That only belittles the Church of Christ and paints everybody with a tar brush. Anyway, enough negative talk this Boxing Day, let’s get positive. So Friends, how was your Christmas Day? I sincerely hope it was most excellent, and that whatever gathering you were a part of had a good time, and Christ was included in some form and fashion. I must say that mine was quiet but excellent, with only close family members. The highlight of my day though was that my ole mother surprised me by showing up at my humble abode in all her arthritic splendour (smile) after insisting that she was not leaving her own home. And I wasn’t happy so much on my account, but for her and her care-giver; that they didn’t have to spend Christmas Day in the little two be four apartment and not actively participate in the seasonal joy and fun-filled fellowship with the rest of the family. Thank you Lord for that! But those of you who know the old girl, know that she can be very stubborn when she feels so inclined. I guess some of her reluctance to go out nowadays is basically due to a combination of shame and pride she wrongly feels because she is wheelchair bound and can’t manage most of her own affairs. But that’s an unfortunate human trait. And Friends, would you believe that the Spirit was also in cahoots with my family on this matter. (smile) I say that because in the afternoon I kept phoning my mother’s place to read the usual prayers for her, but couldn’t get an answer. Obviously I began to get concerned since she never said she was going out, and I almost got into an argument with my family over it when they began making what I considered simplistic excuses. I knew that my younger daughter and her boyfriend had gone out, but I figured it was to visit their own friends. I never even considered the possibility that they had gone to get her, since she had been so adamant about not leaving home. And it wasn’t until I heard some commotion in my driveway that the Spirit finally enlightened me as to what was happening. One moment I heard the noise, and then suddenly, in the next, I received the brainwave. That’s why I can truly say this Christmas Day of 2010: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.’ He truly showered my family with blessings on this anniversary of His Son’s Birth! Oh my people, I also hope that all of you were blessed in some special way this Christmas Day of 2010. And even if we weren’t, please don’t lose hope, faith and trust in Almighty God, for the world might not be fair, but it’s an unassailable fact that the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob IS GOOD! We don’t, and won’t always understand His complicated chess moves, but whatever He does is always in the long-term best interest of His children. So please stand strong and true under His righteous wings, and He will surely see you through. Much LOVE!…whoever sacrifices their only son…especially for undeserving, ungrateful others…must have a big heart…full of LOVE…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 December 2010 Luke 2:7‏

Luke 2:7.     And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 Oh Friends, it’s CHRISTMAS DAY! That fateful day when Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour was born in Bethlehem of Judea, some two thousand years ago! Wow! Thank you Father God for sending your Son to earth to save us. There’s never been a greater act of LOVE in man’s history, and for that we’re eternally grateful. Ah Friends, our Bit plays out Jesus’ birth as something simple and down to earth: ‘And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger (feed trough); because there was no room for them in the inn.’ But I believe that in reality it wasn’t that simple at all. Now see if you can picture this scene. I don’t know how this will turn out, but it’s where the Spirit led me. It’s a cold but cloudless and bright starry night in Judea: ‘Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright.’ In the sleepy town of Bethlehem it’s even more peaceful. ‘O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by; Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’ So Jesus is born in this rough and crude stable and laid in a feed trough because there’s no room for his family in the local inn. ‘Away in the manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay, The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.’  And around the hills and valleys of Bruh David’s city, shepherds are guarding their sheep, bundled up against the bone chilling cold, when all of a sudden an angel, with God’s glory shining all around him, appears out of nowhere and startles them. This unexpected state of affairs obviously frightens the poor shepherds. ‘The first Noel the angel did say Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; In fields as they lay, keeping their sheep, On a cold winter’s night that was so deep. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel. They looked up and saw a star, Shining in the east beyond them far, And to the earth it gave great light, And so it continued both day and night.’ The angel tells the shepherds where to find the baby, but before they could do anything, from out of nowhere again, a host of heavenly angels appear, the greatest choir ever assembled, and they begin singing and praising God. ‘Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled! Joyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With the angelic host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem! Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King!’ Obviously after all this surprising pandemonium, the shepherds, with typical human inquisitiveness, decide to go and check out this baby Jesus that the Lord had seen fit to tell them about. So they hustle over to Bethlehem proper, and just as the angel said, they found Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the manger. They paid their respects then went around spreading the good news, re what the angels had told them and they had seen – wish we could get some gossips to spread the good news today. (smile) Then the shepherds go back to their lonely jobs, but now in great spirits, thanking and praising God for all that they’d experienced. ‘Angels we have heard on high, Singing sweetly through the night, And the mountains in reply, Echoing their brave delight. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo.’ Oh Friends, the story gets better as the night rolls on, but I’m going to use a bit of poetic license here because the gospels are a bit confusing. Luke tells of the shepherds, but not the wise men, while Matthew tells of the wise men but not the shepherds, and most likely the two events didn’t occur on the same night, since Matthew says that the wise men entered a house. (Matt.2:11) However to enlarge the grandeur of the scene, I’ll put both episodes together.  So now it’s later on in the evening, and even more activity is happening in normally staid, quiet Bethlehem. That’s because three kings from the East, possibly descendants of Jewish captives in Babylon, because they know the scriptures and came to Jerusalem searching for this new-born King of the Jews, whom the unconcerned Jewish elite directed to Bethlehem. But Herod the king paid attention, telling them to come back and let him know where they found the baby. These kings had followed a big, bright cross-shaped star from way back home, and after leaving Jerusalem, the star was still before them. ‘We three kings of Orient are, Bearing gifts we traverse afar. Field and fountain, moor and mountain, Following yonder star. O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect Light.’ And yuh know what mih people? ‘This star drew nigh to the northwest, O’er Bethlehem it took its rest, And there it did both stop and stay, right over the place where Jesus lay.’ And all God’s people said ‘Wow!’ Imagine the commotion around this old stable in quiet Bethlehem nuh with the camels and the entourages of these men. Then the three magnificently dressed men, long flowing robes and beards, jewel encrusted scimitars and daggers by their sides, enter this lowly stable. Probably never entered such a lowly place before, but they leave their egos outside.  And in all this commotion what happens? ‘The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.’ Yes friends, even at birth Jesus was aware of His royal heritage and how to behave. ‘Then entered in those wise men three, Full reverently upon their knee, And offered there in his presence, Their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense.’ These three powerful men prostrate themselves before Baby Jesus and offer Him symbolic gifts: Gold, because only the earth’s most valuable asset would do for such a mighty monarch. Frankincense, an incense like resin, akin to the stuff burned in the temple before God, because He was Deity. And the myrrh, used for anointing bodies before burial, to symbolize His epic death, some three decades later. Meanwhile, poor Mary and Joseph are sitting around the feed trough in which their godly Son lies, overwhelmed by all the hoopla, just kindly accepting the gifts and glad tidings from all who came to pay their respects. The Good Book says though: ‘But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.’ (Luke 2:19) Wise woman, that Mary! Oh Friends, I forgot to mention that throughout the entire event the heavenly choir was outside rocking up a storm of sweet music. Tunes like: ‘O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him, Born the King of angels; O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O Come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.’ And it wasn’t earth alone rocking nuh mih people; they were having a merry ole time in heaven too. Rocking to stuff like: ‘Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her king; Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.’  And Friends, the parties, both in heaven and on earth, went on until the morning light, until the daytime star arose in the east. (smile) Never before, or again, was there ever such a splendiferous night! Wow! And all God’s people wept with joy, then belted out in song: ‘Then let us all with one accord, sing praises to our heavenly Lord; That hath made heaven and earth of naught, And with His blood mankind hath bought. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel. ‘ Oh Friends, I sure hope the Christmas story was interesting, for I had a lot of fun writing it. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a happy New Year. Don’t overdo the eating and drinking, and find some time to get Christ involved. Much LOVE!…peace on earth…goodwill to all…those are the sentiments of the season…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 December 2010 Luke 1:35‏

Luke 1:35.     The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (one) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
 
Oh Friends, it’s Friday! But a Friday with a difference, because it’s Christmas Eve. Wow! That means some of us might not be joyfully shouting ‘TGIF’! ‘Thank God it’s Friday!’ in the usual sense of the term because the lucky ones are already off work, but all of us will be joyfully and ecstatically shouting ‘TGICE! Thank God it’s Christmas Eve!’ Yes Friends, tomorrow is the BIG DAY! And everybody’s hurrying home for Christmas, and that home factor is possibly one of the best things about the season. It’s like Joseph and Mary travelling to their ancestral home of Bethlehem two thousand years ago. However the difference these days, the good part, is that we’re not going home to be taxed, but to celebrate the birth of Jesus with our friends and families; to LOVE and be LOVED! And here’s a quote from Hal (Harold Glen) Borland (1900-1978) the famous American journalist, which brings out the real true feeling of home. ‘To know after absence the familiar street and road and village and house is to know again the satisfaction of home.’ Oh Friends, no matter where in God’s wide world we travel, when we return ‘HOME’ it’s always with a grateful sigh and a welcome shrug off of the stress of constantly moving. That’s because home implies stability, rest, security, comfort and satisfaction. Regardless of the size or quality of the physical space we call home, it creates and maintains a constant aura of welcome that banishes all our fears and worries once we enter though its welcoming portals. So please my people, please let’s make this Christmas a true homecoming, a time of peace, LOVE and good cheer betwixt and between families, friends and neighbours. Let’s put off whatever resentment, anger and any other negative emotions that will prevent us and our LOVED ones from having a joyful Christmas, celebrating the wonderful birth of Jesus, for that’s what the entire season is all about. Now let’s chant a ‘TGICE, Thank God it’s Christmas Eve Chant!’ (smile) ‘Oh heavenly Father, we, your rebellious children, sincerely thank you for this day, and for all the underserved blessings you continually rain down on us. Friday is usually a day when we celebrate the end of a hard work week, but Father this is a special time of year; the anniversary of your Son Jesus’ incarnate birth to the Virgin Mary, when you sent Him to earth in human form to teach us and make us understand what you’re all about. And this Friday is even more special because your Son’s birthday falls within the weekend. So please help us to rest and renew our tired spirits, souls and bodies, but also to worship and celebrate your Son’s birth in the true spirit of Christmas, placing Him first, as we ought to, before all the worldly things. And Father, please use this Christmas weekend to raise our level of hope, faith, trust and surrender in you, so that when we go back out to work, we’ll be even more fruitful than before. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.’ Oh Friends can you imagine the confusion and consternation that must have befallen poor Mary when the angel told her in no uncertain terms: ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (one) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’ As the old people would say: ‘What a bam bam!’ Imagine being engaged and finding yourself pregnant before the wedding back in those olden times nuh. It’s rough enough now, back then it would have meant real ostracism. Poor Joseph was also placed between a rock and a hard place, when he discovered his wife to be pregnant, and definitely not by him. But Friends, as we keep on saying, the Lord moves in mysterious ways and His plans and designs are much higher than we can ever comprehend. Thus he had an angel appear to Joseph in a dream while he was considering what to do about Mary and his marriage plans. And the angel said to him: ‘Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived (begotten) in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS (Saviour): for he shall save his people from their sins.’ (Matt.1:20-21) Oh my brethren do you think our response would be as accepting as Joseph’s, who just got up and did as the Lord desired? I surely hope so, though I truly doubt it. Many of us would be more concerned about what other people would think and say. But thankfully Joseph didn’t make that mistake, else we wouldn’t be celebrating Christ’s birth now. The same goes for Mary. And I think she was even stronger than Joseph, emotionally, for look at her response after the angel also informed her that her cousin Elisabeth, who was previously barren, was also in the family way with John the Baptist, then cunningly threw in that nothing’s impossible with God. ‘And Mary said, Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) That’s true surrender, trust and faith in the Lord God Jehovah my people! Let’s pray that in this Christmas Season, or in the New Year to come, that whatever the Lord calls us to do, we’ll do with the same sense of trust and surrender that Jesus’ earthly parents did, and Jesus Himself continued to do when He grew to be a man. As Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘Obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.’ Yes Friends, that’s the only way to live a good earthly and righteous life. Much LOVE!…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…
 

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