Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 August 2018 Psalm 89:1.

Psalm 89:1.   I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

Rise and shine my people, it’s a brand new Monday, of a brand new work week, and it’s overflowing with brand new mercies and blessings! Glory to God my brethren, for He will never leave us to suffer unnecessarily. Where there is no way, He will make a way! And when it seems we’ll be consumed by the fires of this world, oh friends, He’ll bring us through them unscathed, not even smelling of smoke. 

What an awesome God we serve my fellow believers! And it’s the same with the floods; when they seem ready to overwhelm us, to drown us, He’s promised to bring us through them safely. So what is there for us to be afraid of in this world eh? Absolutely NOTHING! Because the universe belongs to our God, our Father, and He is in total control and will not let evil overcome His children! 

His commitment to that was so strong that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to save us from our evil doings. So if this Monday morning you are troubled, in dismay, or simply tired and down in the dumps, then please join us in singing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, for it lifts our spirits and puts us back on the good foot, like Papa James Brown would say. (smile) 

So without further ado, let’s get into it nuh, as one purposeful choir, in strong voice and sincere hearts. ‘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!’ 

Now that’s the antidote for whatever ails us this Monday morning! I’m sure you can feel your spirit rising and your soul being reinvigorated, as the adrenaline courses through your body. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit working in us friends! And with such a marvellous transformation taking place, we subsequently have to go out and work the works of Jesus, with a good attitude and a joyful spirit. 

It’s imperative that we let the world know, not only by our talk, but more importantly by our walk, of the abundant goodness of God and His exceeding faithfulness and their need to come to Him, just as they are, for comfort and succour. Yeh friends, we have to go out and do like the psalmist Ethan says in our Bit. ‘I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever; with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to ALL generations.’ 

Now that’s our bounden duty my fellow Christians! Remember Jesus’ Great Commission to His disciples and to all subsequent believers: ‘All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt.28:18-20) 

Yeh friends, as the scholars explain: ‘28:18-20. The triumphant living Lord sends forth His ambassadors to proclaim His gospel throughout the world. The Great Commission is not just an order but a pronouncement of victory (mundus regium Christ) by the risen Saviour through His disciples. All power or authority (Gr. exousia) is now in the hands of Christ, in heaven and on earth. On the basis of that authority and power the Christian disciple is to carry out the Great Commission of the church.’ 

And it’s a joy to go out into this evil world and do that. Why? Listen to the psalmist as he further exalts the Lord, extols His wonderful attributes. ‘Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. Justice and judgement (righteousness and justice) are the habitation (foundation) of thy throne: mercy (LOVING-kindness) and truth shall go before thy face. 

Blessed is the people that know the joyful song: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn (our strength) is exalted.’ (Ps.89:13-17) 

Now, with all of that going for us, how can we not be excited and enthused, and delighted to go out and extol the wonders of our God eh? We’d be truly a sorry bunch of ingrates if we felt otherwise. Much LOVE!

…the mercies and faithfulness of our God…can never be surpassed by anyone else…for there is ONLY ONE GOD…the ONE we worship…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 July 2018 Lamentations 3:22-23.

Lamentations 3:22-23.   It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Ah friends, sorry the Bit is this late, but I had an early morning doctor’s appointment in the city which means everything had to be rearranged. Chuh!  If I say I’m not tired with doctor’s appointments now, I’d be lying. But they are for my benefit, so I just have to grin and bear them. And yesterday I planned to add a P.S. note about it, but I forgot. The old mind’s going. (smile) But as they say, better late than never. 

So here it is now, hot off the press. And by now most of you are at work, so your day is well advanced and you have already engaged the enemy in spiritual warfare. You might even be still suffering from the Monday blues, so it’s definitely not too late to sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, our blues antidote. It’s also nice to have a li’l pick me up in the middle of the day. (smile) 

So as one great voice now, let’s sing: ‘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, what a relief to feel the adrenaline course through our veins, to feel the Spirit of Christ just rise up to the forefront once more, and we become indefatigable (not tired) and invincible once again. Glory to our great God! 

Now yesterday we were talking about one of God’s many attributes, His compassion, and there is so much in the scriptures about it, that we’ll continue on that most worthwhile and awesome topic.  As our Bit so magnanimously states: ‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’ 

Yeh friends, without God’s compassion we’d be done like dinner long time, roasting in Hades with that fool Lucifer! (smile) But thanks to our God’s magnanimous compassion, we’re not. And what I especially like about His compassion, His mercy, is that they are brand new every day! 

Wow! Our God doesn’t give us any stale stuff. It’s like the fresh manna He gave the Israelites every day in the wilderness. Now how can we not appreciate and be grateful for that kind of treatment eh? Under those rather enviable circumstances, I don’t understand our strong desire to get rid of God from our society.  

But some of us are just wiser than others, so let’s turn to the scriptures now and check out some more of it that deals with God’s compassion. Yesterday we saw the most important aspect of it, where while we yet His enemies, the Father sent Christ to die for us. (Rom.5:6-9) Yuh can’t beat that friends! 

Now listen to Micah proclaim to the world, our God’s compassionate attribute. ‘Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by (over) the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy (LOVING-kindness). He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their (our) sins into the depths of the sea.’ (Mic.7:18-19)  

Oh my people, my people, what will it take for us to take the scriptures, the Word of God seriously eh? We’re behaving just like the Israelites did after the Lord brought them out of bondage in Egypt. The psalmist Asaph puts it nicely. Even after the Lord smote their stoutest men for their disobedience: ‘For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. 

Therefore their days did he consume in vanity (futility), and their years in trouble (sudden terror). When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and inquired early (sought diligently) after God. And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. 

Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right (steadfast) with him, neither were they steadfast (faithful) in his covenant. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all their wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.’ (Ps.78:32-39). 

Yeh friends, that’s the same way we are taking advantage of God’s compassion and mercy, making believe that we have right hearts and pure motives. But please remember He does not judge by outward appearances, so no matter how much we flatter Him with the words of our mouths, He will look at out hearts to see if they are sincere or not, and at some stage give us our just desserts. 

A word of warning to the wise is supposedly sufficient. Let’s hope that we all accept that warning today. Much LOVE!

…although God’s compassion is boundless…it’s not wise…to try to play Him for a fool…



 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 April 2018 Psalm 146:2.

Psalm 146:2.    While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

Here I am again my brethren, writing from the ninth-floor neurological section of St. Michael’s Hospital in the great city of Toronto. I could have written the Bit before, but at first I was somewhat on the lazy side and slept out the whole morning, then in the afternoon my family came, as well as the families of the other three patients in the room, so it was somewhat noisy and inappropriate. That’s why I wanted a private room, but apparently they don’t have any here. But that’s okay, we’ll manage with the Lord’s help, as always. 

Now it’s somewhat quieter so here we are on a Sunday, of course opening with praise and worship, something from Frances Crosby called ‘Praise Him!’ And do I ever have cause to praise our great God, so please do it with me. In strong voice and sincere hearts let’s sing at evening song. (smile) ‘Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim! Hail Him! Hail Him! Highest archangels in glory; Strength and honor give to His holy Name! Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children, In His arms He carries them all day long. 

(Refrain: Praise Him! Praise Him! Tell of His excellent greatness; Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song! Praise Him!) Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died. He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the Crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong. 

(Refrain) Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer! Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring! Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever; Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King! Christ is coming! over the world victorious, Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong. (Refrain)’ 

Yes friends, Jesus is the ONE and ONLY ONE! That’s why I’ve decided like the psalmist did, that ‘While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.’ 

We can’t do any better than that my people, but we can surely do worse. Like the psalmist continues: ‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man (human being), in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, (his spirit departs) he returneth to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.’ (Ps.146:3-4)

And that’s no lie, as we all know. But what some of us refuse to realize is what the psalmist says after that. ‘Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Which executeth judgement (justice) for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. 

The Lord looseth (gives freedom to) the prisoners: The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord LOVETH the righteous: The Lord preserveth (watches over) the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down (makes crooked). The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy Gods, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord.’ (Ps.146:5-10) 

And that penultimate sentence is the gospel truth friends. Our great God will reign for ever, because there is none else like Him. He made the world and all there is, so how can anybody or thing be greater than Him eh? No way Jose! And until mankind truly realizes that fact, we’ll always be in trouble. But our God is also merciful and magnanimous. He doesn’t want to punish or get rid of us all who don’t live according to His rules and regulations. 

Listen to Bruh David, as he explains: ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous (abounding) in mercy (LOVING-kindness). He will not always chide (strive): neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us for our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy (LOVING-kindness) toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame (understands our constitution); he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more (not remember it). But the mercy (LOVING-kindness) of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.’ (Ps.103:8-17) 

Yes, my people, that’s the wonderful kind of God we serve and worship. Let’s shout it out to the world, to the many who don’t know Him, or simply refuse to accept Him because they think He is otherwise than He really is. And the best way we can do that is by sharing His LOVE and mercy with the unfortunates of the world. You know what we need to do, so I won’t belabor the point. (smile) 

In closing I’d just like to say thanks to all of you who have written in with your prayers and good wishes. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and appreciate them all. Please keep on reading the Bit and letting it be a catalyst for your LOVE walk with Jesus. Much LOVE!

…there is no better walk…than that with Jesus…  

P.S. To my St. Francis Parishioners, sorry I had to miss our Spring Fling on Saturday night. I just know that it was most excellent, because that’s how we party. Much LOVE!

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 March 2018 Psalm 105:4.

Psalm 105:4.    Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Welcome to the new workweek friends, and its harbinger of good tidings, Monday! (smile) Yeh, Monday is a blessed day; we get to go out and work and make some money and also share the word and LOVE of Jesus. Now what could be more important and blessed than that eh? Nothing really! We’re killing two birds with one stone… 

And I hear some of you grumbling that you don’t want to hear no nonsense about Monday being blessed, etc. etc. cause you’re having a hard enough time getting up. Oh I know that it’s not always easy to roll out of bed on a Monday morning, and that all of us suffer the Monday Blues at some time or other, and that’s why we have  our Monday Morning Battle Hymn; a most effective antidote for just such occasions. 

So let’s raise our voices in song, with as much enthusiasm and verve that we can muster, and simultaneously allow it to raise our spirits. ‘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!’ 

Now doesn’t that make you feel better? I’m sure it does! Now you do feel more energized and alive, not only ready, but also willing and able to go out and face the cruel and evil world in which we dwell and give them heck, in Jesus name! That’s why we are constantly advised in the Good Book to look to Jehovah God for whatever we need. 

Hear this example from Psalm 105 – God‘s wondrous works in behalf of Israel which includes our Bit. ‘O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. 

Glory ye in his holy name, let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgements of his mouth.’ (Ps.105:1-5) 

Ah friends, what great advice! And that’s exactly what we’ve done this morning; we’ve cried out to Him in song, noting His power and LOVING-kindness, and placing our supplications before Him, asking for mercy, LOVE and guidance to do His will and His work diligently and sincerely in the tough situations that we face as we encounter the evil enemy. 

And you’ll notice how after singing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn our spirits were lifted. That’s the Lord answering our pleas. It’s therefore necessary to keep regular communication with our heavenly Father, if we want to enjoy the fruits of the relationship. 

And also of the utmost important my fellow believers, is that last verse we quoted above: ‘Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgements of his mouth.’ (Ps.105:5)  By so doing friends, we not only exalt and glorify the Lord, but we also remind ourselves of His might and power and all the good stuff He’s done earlier on in our lives and His promises to keep on blessing and looking after us. 

We need to remember that if He’s done it once before, there’s no reason He won’t do it again, and that builds our faith, keeps us strong, gives us confidence to come before Him with humility, but also eager expectation.  As the psalmist Asaph declares in Psalm 77 – Who is so great a God as our God? 

‘I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of all thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary (holiness): who is so great a God as our God?’( Ps.77:11-13) And the emphatic answer to that my people is simply ‘NOBODY!’ 

And we’ll close with these wise words of Bruh David from Psalm 27 – The Lord is my light and my salvation. ‘When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.’ (Ps. 27:8) Yeh friends, that’s wisdom at its highest, for unless we seek the Lord’s face, all our other plans and efforts will be futile. Much LOVE!

…and ye shall seek me…and find me…when ye shall search for me…with all your heart… (Jer.29:13)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 March 2018 Matthew 5:20.

Matthew 5:20.   For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter the kingdom of heaven.

One more day friends! Yes one more day; that’s what we’ve been given, and that’s why it’s called a present, a gift, as well as the present, because it’s all we have to work with.  

Yesterday has gone by for ever, and tomorrow has not come as yet, if it ever will.  Therefore, we need to do all that we can in this present day to exalt the ONE and ONLY, True, Living God; He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as best we can. 

And all God’s children said a loud, proud and grateful, ‘Praise the Lord! Thank Him for all His goodness and LOVING-kindness to the undeserving children of men. Amen! 

And as the li’l thought from the Daily Bread Devotional tells us: ‘Jesus gave His ALL; He deserves our ALL.’ I couldn’t have put it any better my brethren. Jesus did not penny-pinch and play the scrooge when He sacrificed His sinless life for us. He gave it everything He had, put His whole heart and soul into what He was doing for us. 

Now, after He died for us, then rose from the grave, from the dead, so that we too can rise eventually, given us salvation, and is interceding for us at the Father’s right hand in heaven, while His Spirit lives in our souls, leading and guiding us in all truth, don’t you think the least we can do in return is to work tirelessly and faithfully to bring His wonderful church to fruition? 

Wow! What a mouthful my people! (smile) But it is the living truth. We’re definitely not doing as much as we ought to grow Jesus’ church. And WE ALL KNOW IT! We’re still letting the evil world and it’s evil associates control too much of our time and our actions. We talk a good talk, but don’t walk a good walk. 

That’s why the unbeliever looks at us askance, with a knowing smirk on their faces. They know that many of us are just a bunch of ole hypocrites, like the scribes and Pharisees of bygone days. That’s why Jesus declares so definitely in our Bit: ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter the kingdom of heaven.’ 

What a bam bam my people! Imagine that nuh; the most righteous, or supposedly righteous people of Jesus time could not get into heaven. And I know that we’ve used this scripture as our Bit fairly recently, but the Lord just put it on my heart to do it again today, possibly because He knows that we need the warning badly. So don’t get vex with the messenger. (smile) 

Now listen to the scholar’s explanation, once again. ‘5:20. Because of the necessity of righteousness as a requirement to enter heaven, Jesus then declares that except their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees they could not enter heaven. 

The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered these people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness. In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behaviour demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. 

Here we discover the practical application of genuine Christian character to true spiritual living. Here we see the gospel in action.

                 Law                                                                  Spirit

            No murder                                                          No anger

            No adultery                                                         No lust

            No divorce                                                          Commitment

            No oath-taking                                                 Speak the                                                                                                          truth

            No retaliation                                                   Forgiveness

            Hatred for your enemy                                  LOVE for                                                                                                        your enemy 

  (tradition allowed it)                                            (commanded)

And there you have it friends! As Christians we need to come up higher in the spiritual realm than in the law of the world, if we are to be sincere believers. And I’m pleading with us today to stop giving Christ a bad name with our hypocritical behaviour. If we can’t live up to what He expects of us, then let’s stop talking the high talk we talk, and walk whatever low walk we can. Let’s not talk more than we can do. 

Now let’s go home declaring our Thursday Blessings, blessings that the Lord has specially prepared for us who sincerely try to do His will. As one 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!’ 

Oh friends, doesn’t it make you feel bad when you enjoy all those heavenly blessings and don’t at least try to reciprocate as best we can? It ought to. Much LOVE!

…righteousness is simply…the LOVE of Jesus…in action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 February 2018 Psalm 33:1.

Psalm 33:1.   Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely (beautiful) for the upright.

And as the first day of the week rolls around again, let us gladly make our weekly pilgrimage to the House of God! There to meet in joyful fellowship, with praise and thanksgiving flowing from our lips and hearts, as we listen to His holy word and renew His Spirit within us. As I said the other day, there’s nothing as moving and monumental as a group of true believers gathering to offer up thanks and praise to our heavenly Father. 

Now please don’t allow the snow, rain, or other physical circumstances to stop you from going to the Lord’s sanctuary, for you will miss a great time, where believers encourage each other and the Spirit of the Lord is in the house rejuvenating everyone. So let’s get the praise and worship going by singing another old faithful, ‘Abide with Me.’ 

Apparently it was written by an eccentric curate, Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) ‘haunted by the phrase, repeatedly muttered by his close friend, William Le Hunte, as he lay dying.’ Lyte wrote the hymn to its own tune, but it is now sung to the tune of ‘Eventide,’ a composition of the organist William Monk. 

It’s supposedly based on the scripture Luke 24:29, where the two disciples met Jesus on the road to Emmaus but did not recognize Him, and as the daylight was drawing to a close, and they came to where they would spend the night, they constrained, petitioned, Jesus: ‘Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.’ 

Now let us, in our own way, invite Jesus to stay with us until time everlasting. In strong voice and humble hearts let’s offer up the sacrifice of praise that our Lord enjoys hearing so much. ‘Abide with me: fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me. 

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away. Change and decay in all around I see. O Lord who changes not, abide with me. I need your presence every passing hour. What but your grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who like yourself my guide and strength can be? Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me. 

I fear no foe with you at hand to bless, though ills have weight, and tears their bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, your victory? I triumph still, if you abide with me. Hold now your Word before my closing eyes. Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.’ 

And there is no one better to undertake that task than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Now here are a couple of interesting comments on the hymn. One Erik Routley calls it a hymn that “looks death in the face” and embodies the human craving for companionship in extremis.’ So what of that eh? Though we know that all of us must face death, it’s till the hardest thing for us to come to terms with. 

So if we have something that gives us comfort under the circumstances, why not cling to it? And besides, God made man to fellowship with Him and each other, so there is a built in need for companionship. (smile)  

It’s also been noted that ‘the change to the singular pronoun is what gives the hymn its comforting emotional intimacy.’ That means the change from the disciples ‘abide with US,’ to the hymn’s ‘abide with ME.’ Whatever makes it more comforting yes! 

And all of the above dovetails very nicely with our Bit. ‘Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely (beautiful) for the upright.’ Ah friends, that is exactly what our Sunday gatherings are about: rejoicing in the Lord, giving Him beautiful and comely praise in His house.  

Now that doesn’t mean to say that it’s only in a building with several people is rejoicing and praise possible. Shoot no! Praise can be done anywhere, at any time, by at least one person! Our God doesn’t care so much about when, where and by how many He gets His praise, once He gets it on a regular basis from His children. 

That’s why Bruh Paul warned the Ephesians, and by extension modern day believers: ‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (dissipation), but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ (Eph.5:18-21) 

Yeh mih people, as true believers, we ought always to have a song of joy in our hearts towards our wonderful heavenly Father! And it’s only fitting that we end with some more of the Psalm from which our Bit is taken. ‘Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise (shout of joy). The word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth. He LOVETH righteousness and judgement (justice): the earth is full of the goodness (LOVING-kindness) of the Lord.’ (Ps.33:2-5) 

And isn’t that the gospel truth my brethren! Wow! That’s why we ought to rejoice and give thanks as much as possible! So as we go to the sanctuary today, or worship wherever, let’s try and keep that joy, that rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness actively bubbling in our hearts nuh. For remember, the joy of the Lord is our strength. Much LOVE!

…if you’re not giving God regular and sincere praise and thanks…then you’re not a true believer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 December 2017 Luke 2:11.

Luke 2:11.   For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

                   MERRY  CHRISTMAS  EVERYBODY!

Oh friends, it’s Christmas Day! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas to you and yours! And I do hope you all have a joyous day, a day filled with celebrations and lifting up the LOVING-kindness of God, through His Son Jesus Christ, who was born on this day some years ago. (smile) 

And to lead off the celebrations, let’s give voice to one of our favourite Christmas Carols, ‘Joy to the world,’ written by Isaac Watts, in the early 18th century, and which so appropriately describes the beautiful uproarious sensations that should be felt all over the world, at the miraculous birth of Christ. 

So with grateful and joyous hearts, let’s sing: ‘Joy to the world, the Lord has 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. Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains  Repeat the sounding joy Repeat the sounding joy Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy 

No more let sins and sorrows grow Nor thorns infest the ground He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found Far as the curse is found Far as, far as, the curse is found  He rules the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove  The glories of His righteousness And wonders of His LOVE And wonders of His LOVE And wonders, wonders, of His LOVE.’ 

Ah friends, this glorious day is and was indeed all about the wonders of Almighty God’s amazing LOVE toward us.  How does the Good Book put it? ‘But God commendeth (demonstrates) his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom.5:8) I don’t think we can ever really comprehend the depth of God’s LOVE for us nuh mih breddren. The magnanimity of God offering His Son as a living sacrifice for us, is just too much for our frail and feeble minds to understand. But that’s another thing; the Lord doesn’t need us to understand, just to accept His goodness and mercy and believe on His Son Jesus.  

And so, as we eat and drink and enjoy goodwill and cheer with our friends and families, let us not forget the reason for all this celebration and enjoyment; the birth of Jesus Christ on a cold winter’s night long, long ago. Consequently, we need to keep Him uppermost in our hearts and minds today, giving Him much praise and thanks for ALL that He’s done for us from the day of His birth to the current time, and ALL that He’s promised to do in the future.  

Unfortunately though, not everyone is able to stay at home and celebrate today, what with our 24/7 society, some of us have to get up and go to work on this cold Christmas Day morn. And though we feel sorry for them, we glad that it’s them and not us. (smile) Anyway, let’s send them off with a rousing rendition of our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, to get their adrenaline flowing and their motors running smoothly in spite of their unfortunate situation.  

As one 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!’ 

And as always, those who are not going to work are the loudest and hoarsest. (smile) But let’s reminisce a li’l, go back to that faithful night, or early morning two thousand years ago. Let’s check out the scene. Shepherds were watching their flocks in the cold weather, when suddenly an angel appeared , ‘and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes (bandage-like cloths), lying in a manger (feed trough). And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying , Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ (Luke 2:9-14) 

What an amazing time that must have been eh friends! Angels glorifying God, as they deliver the good news of Christ’s birth and His divine purpose to bring peace and good will to all the people on earth. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been accomplished just yet, but we’re working on it, and today ought to be a reminder of Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth, and subsequently ours, as His faithful believers and followers. 

So let’s celebrate today and get reinvigorated with Christ’s Spirit nuh, so that we can go out tomorrow and ramp up our efforts to bring that peace and good will to Mother Earth. It’s certainly a worthwhile cause. Much LOVE!

…what better way to celebrate Christ’s birth…than by spreading…peace…LOVE…and good will…

 

 

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