Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 March 2018 Psalm 23:1.

Psalm 23:1.   The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

It’s time once again friends for our weekly rejuvenation; meaning it’s the Lord’s Day and we need to go to His sanctuary to get oiled and lubed, (smile) so we can handle the upcoming week’s affairs with strength, faith, hope and confidence. 

Oh by the way, for those of us who live in the Daylight Savings Time zones, please be reminded that the clocks went back one hour tonight, which means that church will held an hour earlier. So please don’t miss it by pleading ignorance of the time change. (smile) I won’t put it past many of you to do so. 

And as always, before we hear the Lord’s word, we offer up sacrifices of praise and worship, letting our heavenly Father know that we certainly do adore, glorify, exalt and LOVE Him. Today we’ll sing one of the most well-known and heartwarming passages in the Good Book – Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd. 

Those immortal words of Bruh David had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. They are too meaningful and applicable to our earthly lives to have simply come from a man’s finite mind. But be that as it may, let’s raise our voices in sweet adoration and wonderful harmony, as we lift up those words to heaven, words written so long ago, but which still retain their awesome power even to this day. 

‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters: He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 

Thou preparest a table in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen!’ 

Oh friends, did you feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving in your individual soul and felt like He was present everywhere in the sanctuary, just enveloping us all with His amazing and unconditional LOVE?  I surely did! But what a mighty work of God that Psalm is! Almost every believer knows it, and/or has used it in some tough and unforgiving times.  

And the opening verse, our Bit: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,’ is so all encompassing and comforting that I don’t where or how to start describing it, so I’ll just share the scholar’s explanation. ‘Psalm 23. The psalm has been a favourite of God’s people through the ages with due reason: it expresses as simply and clearly as any the role of God as our protector and provider in life. 

The charm of the psalm rests on two figures of speech: the Lord is compared to a shepherd and the believer to His sheep (vs.1-4); then the Lord is likened to a host with the believer as the guest (vs.5-6). The image of the Lord as shepherd is a frequent one in both the Old Testament (Is.40:11; Jer.31:10) and the New Testament (John10:11-16; Heb.13:20). 

Believers are never pictured in Scripture as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on their Shepherd for His provision and protection. The believer is more than a dependent sheep; however, he is also like and honoured guest, since the Lord prepares a table for him (v.5). 

Connected with this honoured position is abundant provision, vindication before one’s enemies, and eternal celebration of God’s goodness.’ 

Wow mih people! In what other faith can you have all of that goodness and LOVING-kindness eh? NONE WHATSOEVER! Only if you are a believer in Jesus can you have a Deity, lead and guide you in safe paths, beside quiet waters, look after all your needs, down here on earth, then take you to dwell with Him eternally in heaven when your earthly sojourn is over. 

And please note my fellow believers, the life of eternity in heaven will even be better than that we experience on earth. So you can imagine how wonderful heaven must be! I doubt it, because our minds are too small to imagine it, but Jesus has promised it, and He does not renege on promises. 

Now here are a couple of those other verses above that quote God as a shepherd, starting with Isaiah. When he talks about finding comfort through trust in God ‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Is.40:11) 

And here is the piece de resistance from Jesus Himself. ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.’ (John 10:11, 14) 

And we’ll close with these most appropriate words from the author of Hebrews: ‘Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect (complete) in every good work to do his will, working in you what which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Heb.13:20-21) 

And that’s my wish for all of us today, my fellow believers. Much LOVE!

…oh how blessed we are to have a wonderful shepherd like Jesus…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 August 2017 Psalm 23:1.

Psalm 23:1.   The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (lack anything).

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa! Yeh friends, it was just one of those days, after running around in the hot sun yesterday afternoon, the old body just cried out for rest and simply refused to get up this morning before it felt sufficiently rested. (smile) 

And yesterday was probably the hottest day yet for this summer. Old July went out with a heat wave, and August seems to want to come in the same way, because it’s also supposed to be fairly hot today. 

And I have to go out and do some more stuff out there today too. But I have no doubt that with the Lord’s invaluable help, it will all turn out fine. 

Now here is something from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that ought to lift us all up this morning, give us comfort and assurance to face the day’s problems. It’s titled ‘The Promise.’ 

Let’s pray together: ‘O dear God, I continue to believe Your personal promise still stands Though every quivering question within Shouts that it will be broken. I am claiming Your help through the wilderness Despite every frightening shadow and vale. Often You do the most When you seem to do the least. 

Sometimes secretly Sometimes quietly Often slowly But always most certainly You are true to Your word. And so, my Lord Though I am weak, weary, and worn help me not to despair. You see me, You hear me. You know I am depending utterly Upon Your unblemished integrity Surely You will keep Your word.’ 

And that’s an indisputable fact my fellow believers in Christ! The Lord God Jehovah, creator of the universe and all therein WILL keep His Word for He is a Deity of the utmost integrity!  And that’s exactly why we can place our utmost trust in Him and feel safe and assured! Glory to God my brethren! 

Yeh friends, that’s the whole purpose of having a God; someone to look up to, especially in tough times, someone who CAN, and also WILL hear our cries for help and answer them in the affirmative. 

And the awesome, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the ONLY One of the many gods being worshipped today, who is actually capable of doing that! For He is the ONLY LIVING GOD! 

All others are merely dead and lifeless idols, creations of man’s mind, or the creation of the One and Only True God Jehovah. So how can you worship something that is dead, or was created by someone else and has absolutely no power to do anything under its own will or power eh? It just doesn’t make sense. Hope what I’m saying makes sense though? (smile) 

And the Bible Verse that substantiates that Promise is none other than one of our most famous Bible Verses; the true and wonderful words of Bruh David: ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (lack anything).’ 

What marvellous words of assurance eh mih people! No other faith can proclaim such a statement and have it be the truth…but we can! All power and glory to our great God! 

And Bruh David lays it out, all nice and simple and straightforward. ‘He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (pastures of tender green grass): he leadeth me beside the still waters (waters of rest): He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.’ (Ps.23:2-3)  

Oh my faithful brethren, doesn’t that just resonate powerfully and peacefully through your hearts, bodies and souls? It certainly does through mine, and has me longing for the green pastures and peaceful waters of sweet Tobago, which I haven’t experienced for almost two years. 

And can’t you just imagine Bruh David penning those heartwarming words as he sat below some shade tree, on a beautiful summer’s day, beside a quiet stream, watching his sheep graze on the lush and plentiful green grass around him? 

It was just the perfect metaphor to describe his God; the eternal and merciful One who found healthy forage for his sheep and protected him from the wild animals and natural disasters that constantly came against them. 

That’s why they have become such a standard, such foundational truth in our faith! The only prayer possibly known better than that is the ‘Lord’s Prayer,’ or ‘Our Father.’ 

And Bruh David didn’t stop there, he went on to elaborate even further on the rich and blessed assurances of his awesome God. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and staff they comfort me. 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy (LOVING-kindness) shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ (Ps.23:4-6) 

And all God’s people shouted ‘Amen and Amen!’ Yeh friends, it couldn’t get any better than that! 

As the scholars explain: ‘Psalm 23: The psalm has been a favourite of God’s people through the ages and with due reason: it expresses as simply and clearly as any the role of God as our protector and provider in life. 

The charm of the psalm rests on two figures of speech: the Lord is compared to a shepherd and the believer to his sheep (vs.1-4); then the Lord is likened to a host with the believer as the guest (vs.5-6).’  

So my people, with all of that bubbling and reverberating in our hearts, spirits and souls, let’s go home now sincerely declaring our Tuesday Mantra. 

‘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!’ 

Now, the next move is for us to put it all into action! Much LOVE!

…with God as our shepherd comes…’an honoured position…abundant provision…vindication before one’s enemies…eternal celebration of God’s goodness…’  

P.S. Yes, I know it’s long and late, but it’s still beautiful, even if I say so myself. (smile)

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 November 2016 Isaiah 41:10.

 Isaiah 41:10.    Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Well top o’ the morn to you my Scrip-Bit family! Hope this missive finds you alive and kicking on this lazy, hazy Saturday. (smile) Life is short so we might as well enjoy it. We know not when our time will be up, so here is the first of two quotes from our friend Anselm, who always aspires to inspire us to greater heights. 

And first off he tells us: ‘Make each day count. We don’t have all the time in the world. So focus on today and do the things you really want to do.’ That’s exactly what I was saying above. It is imperative that we make hay while the sun shines! 

And the second quote is also inspiring. ‘Reprogram your information intake. Program out negative and cynical thoughts from the media and society. Reduce your information intake. Then program in positive news and entertainment, more of your own thoughts and useful information such as personal growth tapes and books. Be selective and keep it positive.’ 

Ah friends, a lot of us certainly need to do that in this age of so much information and misinformation! Our world is going crazy with the wealth of information that’s now available. The problem though is that too much of it is negative and we can’t easily tell what is truth from prevarication to out and out lies. Therefore our minds are filled with lots of unnecessary and unproductive stuff, that’s why Anselm’s advice is so worthwhile. 

We desperately need to clean up our minds; purge what’s not useful and negative, and then replace it with only useful, positive, godly stuff. Give the television and social media a break; spend more time with God, your family and yourself.  That way we won’t be bombarded with all the nonsense that’s out there, seeking to invade our minds and spirits. 

And last but not least, seek to raise our faith and trust in the God of our fathers. Believe what our Bit says: ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.’ 

Oh my people, why are so many of us supposed Christians still walking in deep fear of the world around us, when we have such awesome promises from our awesome God eh? We know He’s faithful to keep those promises and that He will work out everything for our good in the end, so why are we still so fickle and feckless? 

As Job says, we have to learn to take the good with the bad. (Job 2:10) We can’t be fearful of every little hiccup in our lives. And this morning I want to bombard us with some ‘Fear nots’ in the hope that it will encourage us to stand steadfast and strong in the power of God’s Word.  

Listen to Moses on the occasion of the biggest miracle of the time, when the departing Israelites were caught between the army of Pharaoh and the deep Red Sea.  ‘And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation (deliverance) of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.’ (Ex.14:13) 

And as promised, Moses stretched out his hand over the Red Sea which parted and allowed the Israelites to cross over on dry land, but when the Egyptians followed, the two halves came together again and drowned Pharaoh’s army. Now one would think that after such a mighty miracle, the Israelites would have been trusting and steadfast forever. Hn! But in the wilderness, three days later, at the bitter waters of Marah they were complaining, wanting to return to Egypt. 

Now hear Isaiah, as he talks about Israel being restored to Zion. ‘Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.’ (Is.35:4) 

And now, listen to these words of Bruh David that we all know and claim to LOVE and believe. ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the day so my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’ (Ps.23) 

Yeh mih people, if we believe all that Bruh David says there, then we should not be afraid of the vicissitudes of life. Then there’s Jesus to his disciples: ‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul….Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.’ (Matt.10:28,31)  

Yes friends, ONLY the Lord can destroy body and soul, and we are much too valuable in His sight, for Him to destroy us, that’s why He sent Jesus to save us. 

And we’ll close with a simple, but powerful statement of Jesus. ‘Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ (Luke 12:32)  

How much more do we need eh my brethren, before we can truly stand strong and steadfast on the solid foundation of God’s eternal LOVE and ever-faithful promises eh? Steups! God alone knows yes! Much LOVE!

…it’s high time for those of us who call ourselves Christians… to FEARLESSLY stand up and be counted….

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 September 2014 Isaiah 40:11

Isaiah 40:11.     He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Oh Friends, it’s Tuesday – tearful Tuesday! That’s because of the many tears we’ll shed this morning, having to get up and go out to work, tired, sleep deprived, moaning and groaning, after the long, loud, lusty and lustful Labour Day weekend. (smile)
 
Don’t worry my brethren, the ole fella’s in the same boat. I shed a few tears my self just now when I had to get up to write the Bit, after only about three hours of sleep. But having cried out for LOVE and mercy and grace, I’m facing up to my task, assured of heavenly blessing and guidance to complete it in a worthwhile manner.
 
And I just want to comment here, give a personal testimony, on some thing I heard my Bubba Joel (Joel Osteen) say this weekend. He claims he wasn’t the least bit interested in being the pastor at Lakewood Church after his father went to be with the Lord some ten years ago.
 
He was quiet happy being in the background looking after the television aspect of the ministry. However, deep down inside, he felt that it was his calling, his destiny, and once he accepted that unforeseen role, despite all the problems surrounding it, he experienced an inner peace within himself that he just could not understand.
 
But it was the Lord’s peace; that peace that surpasses all human understanding.
 
On hearing that, it just brought back to my memory the surprising and unexpected peace I also experienced when my mother Molly died three years ago.
 
I was in California at the time, on a short vacation, the first time I’d left the country in some four or five years, and was most surprised and disappointed when I got the news of her passing, without me even having a chance to say a formal goodbye, and she, just a couple days before telling me that she wasn’t yet ready to go home.
 
But soon thereafter, I unexpectedly found myself at a point of quiet peace with situation. The Lord put a couple of understandable though not necessarily wonderful reasons in my heart for His action.
 
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was disappointed, sad and cried and grieved and everything else. But deep down inside I didn’t have the turmoil that usually comes with those kinds of situations. I remember remarking to myself how calm and collected I was, despite all the sorrow and heartache surrounding me.
 
I now realize that that was indeed the peace of God which passes all human understanding, which allows us to have a calm interior, while the winds of the storm are wreaking havoc all around us on the outside.
 
And the moral of the story is that when the storm clouds of trouble and sorrow surround us, it is indeed possible to have internal peace, if we turn to our wonderful God and cast all our cares upon Him, as He so generously advises. ‘Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.’(1 Pet. 5:7)
 
He will certainly keep ALL of His promises; of never leaving nor forsaking us, of having good plans for our lives, plans of hope and a good future, to also bring us through the fire suitably changed but unscathed, working it all out for our good in His time and manner.
 
No wonder Isaiah likens Him to a shepherd in our Bit, for a true shepherd cares for and looks after his flock with total concentration. ‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those with young.’
 
Oh my fellow believers, what a wonderful word portrait of our great Provider, Jehovah Raffa!
 
And there are lots of scriptures that describe Him as a shepherd because the old Jewish society was agrarian, and best-understood stuff couched in agricultural terminology.
 
Now let’s look at some of those scriptures that portray our omnipotent, LOVING, merciful, most caring and forgiving God as a shepherd. And the obvious scripture to begin with are the words of Jesus Himself, of whom Isaiah was prophesying, when he made the claims in our Bit.
 
Jesus unequivocally declares to His listeners: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling (hired man), and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
 
The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so knoweth I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 
And other sheep I have (Gentiles), which are not of this fold (Jews): them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold (flock), and one shepherd.’ (John 10: 11-16)
 
Oh Friends, how much more convincing and eloquent can Jesus be eh? Not much. He says it all right there.
 
Meanwhile Jeremiah in his prophecy declares: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles (coastlands) afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.’ (Jer.31:10)
 
And Micah, in talking of the deliverers from Bethlehem, tells us: ‘And he shall stand and feed (shepherd his flock) in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.’ (Mic.5:4)
 
Then Peter declares it thus: ‘For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop (Overseer) of your souls.’ (1 Pet.2:25) There he is quoting Isaiah 53:5-6.
 
And we’ll close with the most famous scripture passage, re the analogy of God to a shepherd. Hear these beautiful, soul-searching, uplifting and inspiring words of Bruh David: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (lack). He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (pastures of tender green grass): he leadeth me beside still waters (waters of rest).
 
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.’ (Ps.23:1-4)
 
Oh my people, please take heart, for despite all the troubles that surround us, all the fires we must pass through, our wonderful heavenly Father, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our helper and comforter, are always around us, leading us to green pastures filled with restful, sweet tasting and rejuvenating water.
 
So today, please put all your trust and faith and hope in our Triune God, who watches over and protects us like a true shepherd does his sheep. Much LOVE!
 
…when the Good Shepherd, Jesus comes a calling…His sheep will recognize His voice…and heed His righteous and comforting call…