Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 April 2018 James 1:2.

James 1:2.    My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials).

At last friends, at long last, some of the ice that’s covered the ground from the ice storm a week ago has finally melted…Yay! And we can now see some of Mother Earth’s dirtyish brown grass with specks of green thrown in for good measure. Glory be! 

But not all of the ice has melted, there are still several patches of it all around. And from my kitchen window I can see about three or four solid boulders of ice lying at the side of the road, and the big lump of ice that clogged the entrance to my lane when they cleaned the main road last week is still there, blocking traffic and making it difficult to enter the lane. 

But God is good! Let’s remember that, and a few weeks from now when spring has finally sprung and the leaves and beautiful blossoms are out in all their glory, we’ll look back and laugh at this inconvenience. Hn, hn! Yeh mih people, it’s a good thing the Lord blessed us with short memories. 

However, it’s Saturday, so let’s turn our attention to some of this week’s quotes from our friend Anselm, as he aspires to inspire us to a better tomorrow. Here is the first one: ‘Learn to value yourself, which means fight for your happiness.’ 

Oh my people, too many of us don’t value ourselves highly enough, we have a poor self-image, thus others take advantage of us. Therefore we need to raise our self- image through Bible study and assertive action if we want to control our lives and thus our happiness. And the next quote is basically about the same thing; taking control of our lives. 

‘Don’t let other people decide whether you are going to have a fantabulous or bad day, make that decision yourself.’ Again, too many of us allow others to run our lives and decide what kind of day we’re going to have. That is counter productive friends. We have to learn to stand on our own two feet and make those kinds of decision for ourselves, otherwise we’ll always be at the mercy of others. 

And the final quote says: ‘If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.’ In other words, take a chance! And that is gospel truth! If you never take chances and just stay with the tried and true, the same old, same old, then the same old, same old is all you’ll ever get. 

Our society and our Christian faith was built on our forefathers and the early Christians taking chances, even when it meant running afoul of the authorities and thus possible loss of life. And as we Christians know, whenever we step out to do something for Christ, the enemy will most likely come against us and try to prevent us from doing it. 

But because of Christ’s promises and His power to enable us to do anything, we don’t have to shy away, but press on regardless. And we do that through faith. But faith doesn’t just come like by wishing it. On the contrary it’s something we have to build, through constant hard work and adversity. 

And Cousin Bobby (Bobby Schuller- Hour of Power) says that ‘Faith is not a leap, but an enduring daily trust that God can do the impossible in your life.’ And that’s no lie! Each and every day we awaken we have to learn to keep the trust in God we earned the day before, and to build on it, so that tomorrow it will be even stronger. That’s how we build faith my brethren – from day to day, through whatever trial comes our way. 

That brings us to our Bit, some rather interesting words from James, Jesus’ brother, in his epistle to the Christians dispersed around the world. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials).’ Now who wants to find trials joyful eh? Nobody! But friends, that’s the only way we’ll grow in faith. 

As James continues: ‘Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing.’ James 1:3-4) Yeh friends, as long as we are believers, our faith will always be tested, and we need to stand fast so that we can grow. 

And the scholars got it right: ‘1:4. The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’ Oh, we certainly know it’s rough, and do try to escape, but much to our dismay, that’s just part of the life of faith we’re trying live. 

The scholars further tell us: ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall (Gr. peripipto). 

These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing….It is not merely one’s presence in such trials but one’s victory over them that brings spiritual growth and maturity. Those Christians whom God can use the most are those whom God has bruised the most.’ 

Unfortunately mih people growing in spiritual faith is not easy, as can be seen from the lives of all great men of faith, especially Jesus. But they all kept constantly looking to the heavenly Father for the strength to carry on, and He gave it to them. Likewise, if we look to our heavenly Father for strength and wisdom to carry on in tough times, He WILL give it to us. 

So friends, whatever is coming against us right now, let’s try and think of it in joyful terms nuh, (smile) believing that God is allowing it for a greater purpose than we can imagine, and lean on Him for the help to come through it successfully. He will not disappoint us. That’s His faithful promise! Much LOVE!

…spiritual growth…is based on fleshly suffering…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 March 2018 Luke 12:15.

Luke 12:15.   And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 

Come on friends, it’s a beautiful morning, so let’s go outside for a ride nuh! Oh, I forgot that it’s still somewhat chilly in my neighbourhood. (smile) But when the Sun and the SON are both shining forth so brilliantly it detracts from the freezing cold and you don’t even notice it. 

Hn! And I hear some of you mutter in the background: ‘Good for you! You might not notice the cold, but I certainly will.’ Ah mih people, life is short, so why not enjoy as much of it as possible eh? A li’l cold never kill anybody yet! ‘That’s what you say,’ comes the reply. 

Anyhow, we won’t argue over such trivial things on such a beautiful day. (smile) Let’s simply agree that it’s a beautiful Saturday morning, and therefore time to check out what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, in his attempt to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Hear this first one: ‘You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.’ And that’s gospel truth my friends and fellow believers! Regardless of how strong we become, we’ll ALWAYS need the help of others, simply because we can’t do it all on our own. So please, don’t ever get so proud that you refuse to ask for help, because that’s what family, friendship and fellowship are for. 

And the second quote says: ‘There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.’ More gospel truth my brethren! For in the seed of every failure lies a part of the answer to our improvement. As they say; we must learn from our mistakes. And it only makes sense. If we do something one way, and it fails, why do it the same way again eh? 

And as Christians, we know that we only learn, mature and grow under the umbrella of adversity. When times are good we don’t grow or mature as much because everything is fine and there’s nothing much to tax our mental, spiritual and physical well-being. But when times are rough, we need to hunker down and figure out how to make them smooth again. 

Now here comes the last quote: ‘Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.’ More gospel truth people! But unfortunately, in our current society; too many of us are not thankful for what we have. We keep on wanting and seeking for more worldly stuff, without ever considering being thankful for what we already have. 

And don’t be surprised, it’s not only the ungodly who do that, many Christian brethren do it too. We simply hunger after things, then quickly forget them once we possess them. That’s a sad state of affairs. The problem might just be that we simply have too much. I’m sure if we had half as much as we do, and it was incredibly difficult to get any more, like how it is for the greater portion of our world, we’d certainly be thankful for the little that we had. 

But prosperity and plenty in today’s world, just doesn’t seem to lead to thankfulness, as it should. Thus Jesus’ warning in our Bit, from His parable of the rich fool. ‘And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.’ 

Ah friends, that’s oh so true, but too many of us don’t seem to realize it, as we continue to run down the world’s wealth, despite the inherent problems contained therein. As Jesus described the rich fool who had so much and only thought of himself, wallowing in his worldly wealth and contemplating how to increase it. 

‘And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.’ (Luke 12:19-21) 

Now the scholars offer an interesting explanation of all that. ‘12:21. Here Jesus brings out the meaning of verses 16-20. Notice that what Jesus calls for follows quite logically out of his own example (2 Cor.8:9), as well as out of God’s graciousness toward all who seek Him (Rom.10:12). Jesus is not speaking of a pay-as-you-go faith, but of participation in a relationship in which God already provides what He wishes His people to give back to Him.’ 

Meanwhile, to clarify that explanation, I’ll quote those verses listed above. The first one talks about Jesus’ example. ‘For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.’ (2. Cor.8:9) 

And the next one refers to God’s graciousness to all men. ‘For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.’ (Rom. 10:12) Yes friends, God is rich and generous to all who come to Him in sincerity and truth, and we don’t need to run down the world’s fallible wealth, because God will provide sufficient to meet all our needs when we honour and obey Him. 

And you know what happens when we die and leave great wealth? Some of the worst fights erupt over their dispossession. That’s when the real nasty nature, the evil and greed of mankind truly comes out, and the lawyers end up getting most of what we left behind. So please let’s be wise and seek God’s kingdom first, and lay up treasure in heaven rather than down here on earth nuh. Much LOVE!

…be thankful…and covet not …

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 March 2018 Jeremiah 17:7.

Jeremiah 17:7.   Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

Monday, Monday…what a beautiful day! (smile) Yeh friends, some of you think I’m joking, or simply gone mad to consider Monday a wonderful day. But why can’t it be a wonderful day eh? We’re alive and kicking…possibly not as strong as we should, because we have abused the weekend, and just being alive ought to be enough to consider it a marvellous day. 

The problem is not with Monday nuh, but with us. We refuse to conform to the norm of the society. So let’s begin this work week on a positive note and joyfully declare: ‘This is the day the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ And even if you don’t feel it yet, just keep thinking positively and the belief will eventually become the truth, the reality. In the meanwhile, let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn to help raise up our spiritual quotient. 

In strong voice and true sincerity: ‘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, that prayer gets our adrenaline flowing, boosting our spirits and our faith so that we’re now ready to go out and courageously and confidently do battle in Jesus name, against the evil enemy. And today friends, we’ll continue talking about that ever so important, urgent and necessary act of trusting in the Lord, if we want to be successful Christians. Our Bit spells it out in bold, colourful words: ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.’ 

What words of wisdom and gospel truth my brethren! We’ll never grow and become successful, mature Christians until and unless we surrender our will to that of God, whose ways and thoughts are ever so much higher than ours. As we declared in our Battle Hymn above, He is the Creator of the universe and all therein. That means His will rules. If we refuse to follow it, then we’ll be left by the wayside thumbing a ride to Hades from the evil Lucifer. 

Now listen to why Jeremiah can make such a bold declaration. ‘For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see (fear) when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful (anxious) in the year of drought, neither shall cease from bearing fruit.’ (Jer.17:8) 

Oh friends, you know how it is when trees don’t get enough water and nourishment, which happens in time of famine, they wither and die, or simply don’t bear fruit? Well Jerry is saying that even when the times get rough, the true and faithful believer will prosper just like in the good times. Wow! What a promise! And we’ll be foolish not accept it. 

Remember again, Almighty God is the Creator of the universe and everything in it, so His power is unlimited; He can do whatever He wants to whomsoever He wants. And why would you not want to hook up with the most LOVING and most powerful Being in the universe eh? I certainly don’t know. I just know that as for me and mine, we WILL certainly make the Lord our Guide, Leader and King. It’s just simple common sense. 

Now let’s look at some scriptures that corroborate our Bit. Listen first to Cousin Sol: ‘He that handleth a matter wisely (wisely heeds the word) shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.’ (Prov.16:20) It couldn’t be put any simpler and clearer than that my people! 

Meanwhile, the psalmist tells us: ‘Blessed is every one that feareth (reverences) the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thy hands (enjoy the fruit of thy labour): happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides (in the heart) of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth (reverences) the Lord.’ (Ps.128:1-4) How can it get any better than that eh mih breddren? No way! 

And we’ll close with these wise words from Bruh David: ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear (reverence) the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want (lack) to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want (lack) any good thing.’ (Ps.34:8-10) 

What more can I say eh friends? Not a whole lot. I’ve given you the facts, now it’s your decision as to what you do with them. Much LOVE!

…trusting in the Lord is not rocket science…but simple common sense…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 February 2018 1 John 3:1a.

1 John 3:1a.   Behold, what manner of LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (children) of God.  

And then it was Tuesday…and the much appreciated spring break amidst the winter season continues seemingly unabated. Oh Glory to God! And on top of that, both the sun and the SON are shining forth brilliantly today. Mama Yo! What more can a mortal man ask for eh? Not much really. 

But yuh know what, in our undeserving, sinful nature, our wonderful God gives us even more. Read with me, as I share this poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. It’s simply titled ‘You LOVE Me!’ 

‘God When I am wretched and weak You LOVE me. When I am steady and strong You LOVE me. When I am very right Or terribly wrong You LOVE me. When I talk too much Or laugh too loud Or sob too long You LOVE me. When I am quiet and serene You LOVE me. 

When I willingly obey You LOVE me. When I insist on my own way You LOVE me. When I fail to put you first You LOVE me. When I come running back to You You LOVE me. I need not beg You to LOVE me For You who are LOVE Cannot exist without LOVING. 

And yet this very day, dear God I have no real assurance Of Your LOVE at all. I wonder why?  (And the Lord answered)  BELOVED child The fact remains I LOVE you.’ 

Isn’t that something now mih people! Regardless of who we are, or how we behave, our amazing God LOVES US! Even when we don’t feel His LOVE, the indisputable truth still stands; He LOVES us! He just cannot help LOVING, because He is LOVE personified! 

And He caused me to share this particular poem today because He wants to remind us of that fact. He apparently sees that we don’t appreciate the true nature of His LOVE enough, that’s why we are so unsure and uncertain of ourselves in this crazy, troubled society. 

Please accept this reminder my fellow believers, and let it penetrate our hearts and minds right to the very core, so that we’ll never be in doubt, in any situation whatsoever, of our great God’s true and unconditional LOVE for us. It’s one of the elementary tenets of our faith, and if we can’t accept it without reservation, then our faith will be lacking, and won’t be able to grow and mature, as it ought to. 

That’s why John, in his first epistle thought it so necessary to remind us of God’s great LOVE for us, as stated in our Bit. ‘Behold, what manner of LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (children) of God.’  

Ah mih breddren how can we not appreciate such an awesome bestowal eh? God didn’t have to, but He wanted to. Why? Because we are His; created by His hand, in His image, and we breathe His breath of life. And even though we have become sinful and disobedient, the facts of the matter cannot be changed. 

Now listen to the scholars on our Bit. ‘3:1. Bestowed is in the perfect tense, suggesting the enduring effect of the LOVE God has given. Believers are children of God by virtue of being born of Him (2:29). Jesus stressed a connection between how the world related to God and how it would in turn relate to Christ’s true followers (John 15:18). After ‘sons of God’ the phrase “And we are” should be added, according to many ancient manuscripts.’ 

Yeh friends, for some reason or the other that definitive statement got left out of our version of the Good Book, but there is no doubt that we are indeed children of God, once we are born again and believe in His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

I think though that a part of the problem is that our minds are so small and finite, that we cannot truly grasp the concept of a mighty and holy God LOVING us, despite our sinful and blasphemous nature. But don’t we still LOVE our children though they are disobedient and go astray? So why should it be any different with God eh? Children are children, and fathers are fathers in whatever situation you place them. 

Now let’s look at a couple of scriptures that corroborate our Bit. John says in his gospel: ‘He (the true Light) was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 

But as many as received him, to them gave he power (the right) to become the sons (children) of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ (John 1:10-13) 

We couldn’t get more authority than that to become children of God. Now hear this most momentous and eye opening scripture, re the LOVE of God from John’s first epistle. ‘Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. BELOVED, if God so LOVED us, we ought also to LOVE one another.’ (1 John 4:10-11)  

That’s our Christian faith in a nutshell right there my brethren. Please let’s practice it in all sincerity and truth nuh. Now let’s go home declaring our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know who and whose we are in strong voice. 

‘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 since we’ve declared it, let’s go out now and action it nuh! Much LOVE!

…regardless of what we have…if we don’t have LOVE…we are nothing…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 February 2018 Philippians 4:6.

Philippians 4:6.   Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And then it was Friday…and a lot of grateful sighs punctuate the universal skies. None more enthusiastic and exuberant than that of the ordinary workingman: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui mih people! The end of backbreaking labour for a few days! Time to celebrate a li’l freedom from the cruel mental lash of the criminal slave master! 

Our time now is ours to do what we want with it. And believe you me, we going to do just that; we going to party and celebrate and be thankful for this short freedom from unfair work for unfair pay. And whatever happens after that happens! Who cares eh? Just be thankful for Fridays and the weekend that eases we pain!’ 

A lot of sad truth in there mih friends, but as believers, we are encouraged to handle the situation differently. We have Jesus in our corner, so though many of us might suffer the same injustice, we have a different recourse, a different way, to alleviate our problems. 

We turn to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has faithfully promised to look after us from the time we are saved until eternity. That’s why our Friday Chant differs so much from the workingman’s song. Let’s chant it now nuh, with heartfelt sincerity and a strong sense of purpose. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Yes faithful believers, our God wants us to abide within certain boundaries so that we can be rejuvenated and continue His awesome work without missing a beat. The workingman’s song invites Beelzebub and his carnal addictions, our Friday Chant invites Jesus and His eternal spiritual salvation. 

Wow! What a good and mighty difference! It frees us from having the judgement of Hades constantly hanging over our heads, like the infamous sword of Damocles, suspended by a single hair. Instead, as true believers we can focus on the wonders of heaven and the amazing life to come that Jesus promises. 

But that means sincerely following Him; consistently reading and meditating on His word, offering up prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, and generally being obedient to His law. And the good part is that He knows we’re not perfect, but He is ever so willing to work with us on becoming more mature and Christ-like. 

And in this season of Lent, where we seem to be somewhat more prayerful than at other times, (smile) I guess this is as good a time as any to remind us of Bruh Paul’s admonition to the Philippians, as reflected in our Bit. But first, the two verses before it. 

‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.’ (Phil.4:4-6) 

Ah mih breddren, what wonderful and wise advice! And the scholars have this to say about those verses. ‘4:4. The mention of believers’ names being recorded in heaven (v.3) causes the author to write rejoice in the Lord always. Harmony among church members, as Paul assumes will be the result of his plea in verses 2 and 3, is another reason to “rejoice.”  

In adding and again I say, rejoice, it is as though the apostle looks into the future, considers all possibilities of sorrow, and in spite of them all repeats “the command.” This command to rejoice at all times and in all circumstances is nothing less than a call to faith. For if the Christian believes that his life and all its circumstances are in the hands of a sovereign, wise and LOVING God who is always working to accomplish good for him, then he can indeed “rejoice always.” 

Oh friends, there is no disputing that logic! If we have the faith to believe it, then there’s all the more reason to rejoice! 

As for 4:5. Moderation means “graciousness” or “sweet reasonableness.” The believer who is at peace with his fellow Christian (v.2) and who rejoices always (v.4) is indeed a gracious, reasonable person. The Lord is at hand means two things. First, His return to earth is near. 

His imminent coming as a judge encourages the Christian to be “gracious” unto all men, for He will judge the believer for all his actions toward all people, and will avenge all wrongs committed by others against him. Second, the “Lord is at hand” spiritually. The Lord’s being presently near should free the Christian from fear and anxiety. Hence the command of verse 6.’ 

And that says: ‘4:6. Be careful for nothing means “don’t worry about anything.” The Lord’s nearness (v.5b) leads Paul to forbid his readers from worrying. This is no summons to irresponsibility or an invitation to dismiss legitimate concern. The solution to undue anxiety is to be prayerful about everything. While God is eager to hear our requests, they are to be accompanied with thanksgiving.’ 

And if we do all that, then ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:7) 

Oh my people, what a glorious promise!  So today, let’s try and stop worrying and complaining nuh, for if we believe in our faith, then there is no reason for them.  Instead, let’s pray and give thanks nuh, because there’s a whole lot for us to be grateful about. Much LOVE!

…worrying and complaining invites Lucifer…prayer and thanksgiving… makes Jesus shine forth…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 December 2017 Luke 1:37.

Luke 1:37.     For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And then it was Christmas Eve! Yeh friends, Christmas Eve, the day before Christ’s birth, aren’t you excited? (smile) We should be my people, because it’s around this time two thousand years ago we received the greatest gift ever. The Son of God was born so that He could save sinful man, whom His heavenly Father LOVED with such a great LOVE that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son, so that His human creation could be saved from hell fire and damnation. 

Glory to our Most High God my brethren, for there is no other Deity who would have ever dreamed of doing something like that! So my fellow believers, on this Christmas Eve Sunday, as we gather in God’s sanctuary to praise and worship Him, to give Him thanks and exalt His holy name and receive His mercy, grace, forgiveness, strength and confidence to face the upcoming week, let’s show our sincere gratitude and overwhelming LOVE by singing our hearts out with unspeakable joy and supreme gladness. 

And the song we’re going to offer up in our sacrifice of praise is the old but ever true and much liked standard, ‘O Holy Night.’ Apparently it was originally written in French, but was later translated to English, and has the distinction of being the first Christmas Carol to ever be played on the radio in 1906. So with sincere feeling now, as we raise our voices to high heaven. 

‘O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine! Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here came the wise men from Orient land. 

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our Friend! He knows our need; to our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King; before Him lowly bend! Behold your King; before Him lowly bend! Truly He taught us to LOVE one another; His law is LOVE and His Gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His Name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy Name! His power and glory evermore proclaim! His power and glory evermore proclaim!’ 

Oh friends, what beautiful sentiments, filled with eternal truths, while offering loads of assurance for the believer. I sincerely hope that tears of joy were flowing down all our faces as we sang those exquisite words. For how could it be otherwise eh, when we’re celebrating such a joyful occasion? And friends, the whole story of Christ’s birth is so incredible, that only a superior being could have worked it out so efficiently and competently and dramatically. 

That takes us to our Bit:  ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ Those were the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, Christ’s mother, after he informed her that she would bare God’s Son through the auspices of the Holy Spirit, and that her hitherto barren cousin Elisabeth, in her old age, was also pregnant.  And what I LOVE about Mary is that despite her young age, throughout Gabriel’s information session she never got riled or overly excited. Of course she was somewhat concerned and confused as Gabriel appeared out of the blue and began to lay such weighty matters on her. Her only real question was how was she going to get pregnant without knowing a man? 

And once Gabriel explained, she was fine. ‘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.’ (Luke 1:35) I must say that Mary was pretty mature for her age and background. If an angel suddenly appeared now and told that a teenager, she’d either run away screaming in fright, or hurl vicious and angry words at the messenger. But Mary’s response at the end of the conversation was simply: ‘Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) 

Ah friends, I’m not sure that Mary would have been so relaxed if she had known the immense heartache she would have to face by being the mother of the Son of God. But nonetheless she held up under all the stress and strain of her position fairly well. Obviously the Lord gave her the wherewithal to stand strong and face the adversity, as He does with us all, when He gives us a job to do. 

So fellow believers, on this Christmas Eve Sunday of 2017, with our world in a complete mess, let’s try and spend some serious time contemplating the mystery and the miracle of Christ’s birth, and how it affects our lives today nuh.  And consequently, what we need to do to improve our lives and the lives of those around us, because if we are to be true followers of Jesus, and for His birth, death and resurrection to truly mean something, then we should always be in the process of becoming more Christ-like and setting a good Christian example to others. That’s Christ’s desire and our bounden duty. Much LOVE!

…ALL things are possible with God…you just have to study Christ’s life to see it…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 October 2017 Psalm 119:75.

Psalm 119:75.   I know, O Lord, that thy judgements (laws) are right (righteous), and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

And all over God’s great universe, this morning the general cry is, was, and will be: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday and work soon finish for two whole lousy days! Steups! But we going to get in as much fun, as much partying as we can in those two days though! That’s for sure! 

Man wasn’t made to work like an animal all them days, one after the other. That’s how massa gets his pound of flesh, But we going to get our pound of flesh by partying down the place, by eating and drinking as though it was our last day here on earth. Thank God for Fridays and weekends yes!’ 

Ah friends, when are ever going to learn that pay back never really works. Yuh think massa really cares that his workers party all weekend? To a certain extent yes, but generally speaking, no! Not unless their dissipation interferes with his work schedule. 

And if it does, he can just fire them, deprive them of their livelihood. So who loses then eh? Certainly not massa! That’s why we Christians have a different attitude towards the weekend, which is borne out in our Friday Chant. 

Let’s chant it in strong voice and sincere sense of purpose like the workingman chants his song nuh. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. 

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Ah mih people, the working life is not easy, but remember with God’s help, we can do anything at all! That’s why our song differs from the ordinary workingman’s. We know we can’t abuse our bodies or anything else and continue to do God’s work in a proper manner. 

That’s why we have boundaries and limitations to how far we can go; otherwise we’d just go overboard like the workingman and be of no use to Jesus. So please let’s be sensible and stay within those boundaries this weekend nuh. 

We have enough other stuff to worry about, as our Bit indicates. I know, O Lord, that thy judgements (laws) are right (righteous), and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.’ 

Yeh friends, we have tests and trials that our Lord is putting us through to grow and mature us, so we can’t waste our time in partying, and simply enjoying the good life as the world sees it. 

We need to be strong and diligent and run our earthly race with vim and vigour, wisdom and understanding, if at the end of our days here on earth, we want Him to greet us in heaven with a crown of glory and words to the effect: ‘Welcome thou good and faithful servant!’ 

My people, that’s the best welcome we can ever, or will ever get! So please let’s work seriously towards it nuh, and start by not complaining too much about the things that come against us through God’s testing. 

I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not a delightful experience when He has you on His potter’s wheel, working diligently on you, to bring you ever closer to the image of His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

But our God is so wonderful that even as He is remoulding and reforming you, He will also give you the wherewithal to endure your afflictions. He’s promised never to give us more than we can bear or carry. And if that ever happens, He will carry us Himself or bear our load for us. 

That’s what Jesus did for us: He bore our sins, so that we could be set free from the bondage of sin. And we don’t want to fall back into it, by refusing His free gift of grace, through salvation and eternal life. 

But if we’re going to be truly successful, we must also learn to accept the good times as well as the rough times without cursing God or turning away from Him as Job’s wife encouraged him to do. (Job 2:9-10) 

And the author of Hebrews puts it all in New Testament language for us, beginning with Cousin Sol’s words. ‘And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children (sons), My son, despise not thou the chastening (discipline) of the Lord, nor faint (be discouraged) when thou art rebuked of him: 

For whom the Lord LOVETH he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom his father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards (illegitimate), and not sons. 

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which have corrected us, and we gave them reverence (respect): shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure (as seemed best to them); but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 

Now no chastening (discipline) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby.’ (Heb.12:5-11) 

That says it all friends! If we want to be considered a son by our heavenly Father, then we must undergo His discipline, just like we do for our earthly fathers. No ifs, ands, or buts about it! Much LOVE!

…spare the rod…spoil the child…that’s God’s Word…

P.S. My sincere apologies for the Bit being so late. I went out to the theatre last night and just never got my act together this morning. (smile) Much LOVE!

 

 

 

 

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