Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 February 2018 Matthew 21:22.

Matthew 21:22.   And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask for in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Ah friends, my most humble apologies for the lateness of today’s Bit. I have absolutely no idea what happened, except that when I was supposed to get up, I was still somewhere far away in dream land. (smile) 

And it’s not like I did anything exhaustive yesterday, or went to bed later than normal. In fact yesterday was designated a day of rest, as I watched the snow fall, and then listened to the snow ploughs and dump trucks cart it away later in the evening. So my only conclusion is that I was simply tired from excessive rest! (smile) 

But on a serious note, I’m asking us, especially our St. Francis people, to offer up sincere prayers for one of our church members, Abbi, who recently had to trek down to Indianapolis to help look after her very sick mother in the hospital. Some of you might not know her, because she usually comes to the 8.30 a.m service. 

Her father doesn’t seem to be doing too well either, as he appears to be stressed out over his wife’s illness. And to complicate matters even further, Abbi is also 6.5 months pregnant, so she also has to look after herself and her unborn child. That means she has to walk a very narrow and careful path in this tremulous situation. There’s not much we can do for the family except pray. So please do that. They would very much appreciate your prayers. 

Now here is something appropriate that I just found on one of the many pieces of paper that sit next to my computer. It’s a quote from Corville Peters, host of the Christian call in programme, ‘At the Cross.’ He says: ‘Prayer is not about trying to overcome God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness on your behalf.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth! Prayer is not about trying to twist God’s arms to help us, but to activate His waiting and His willingness to help. I guess it’s something like our 911 Emergency Number. When you call it, you don’t have to beg them to come and help you, because that’s exactly what they are there for. 

It’s the same thing with our omnipotent God; He is there to always help us when we call, not hem and haw as to whether He should, or should not. And don’t ever forget friends, that prayer is the most powerful tool or weapon in our human arsenal! Otherwise, Jesus would not have said in our Bit: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask for in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’  

And it’s very true. But please note the most important word in that sentence: ‘believing.’ Yeh mih people, we have to believe that we will get what we pray for. You’ll notice, that with Jesus, everything is about believing, about having hope and faith, about seeing it when it’s nowhere in sight. 

Look at how we believe that Jesus died for us and LOVES us and all those good things, although we never met Him in the flesh. That’s what our faith is all about: when you believe, then you’ll see! And what better example is there than when Peter was imprisoned by Herod. 

The Good Book tells us: ‘Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for Him.’ (Acts 12:5) And what happened after that. An angel came and let Peter out of the prison like he was in a trance. (Acts 12:6-10)  

The Good Book continues: ‘And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety (for certain), that the Lord had sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.’ (Acts 12:11) 

And we all know how when he knocked at the door of Mary’s house, the mother of John Mark, even though they were praying for him, nobody would believe that he was out there, saying nonsense like, ‘It is his angel.’ He had to keep on knocking before they would let him in. (Acts 12:12-17) 

So you see friends, even though we pray sincerely, we still lack that ever-important aspect of belief. As Jesus said so plainly before our Bit: ‘Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain; be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.’ (Matt.21:21) 

It’s all about faith, and trust and belief in Jesus and His awesome power and promises my brethren! Please, let’s not lose or lessen our faith, but rather build it up, so that we can move to higher heights, become more Christ-like, as the Father desires. And in keeping with all that, let’s go home now, proudly and sincerely declaring out Thursday Blessings. 

In strong voice 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!’ 

And if we truly believe it all, then our next step is to go out and share it with others, as Jesus intends for us to do. Much LOVE!

…prayer…that wonderful…and oh so powerful…method of communication with our great God…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 February 2018 1 Peter 1:3.

1 Peter 1:3.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us unto a lively (living, constant) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Well my faithful brethren, it’s Sunday once again, the Lord’s Day, and with it come certain commitments: namely to gather in the Lord’s sanctuary in true fellowship to praise and worship Him with humble and sincere hearts.  And though we are scheduled to get a bundle of snow in the Toronto area today, we must not let that stop us from gathering in the Lord’s sanctuary to exalt and glorify His holy name and receive His strength, confidence and assurance for the upcoming week. 

Glory to God my people! When believers get together to worship the Lord…Chuh! There’s nothing on earth like it. We sing and dance and pray and praise and listen to His awesome word that’s indisputable truth! Wow! How could any other gathering beat that eh? 

And as always, we shall open today’s proceedings with song. The Lord likes prayer, but I believe He is partial and sentimental to getting His glory and praise delivered in song. (smile) And that’s exactly how all the elders and other heavenly populace constantly praise Him. So let’s do just that by offering up a sacrifice of praise with our lips as we sincerely belt out the old Isaacs Watts favourite, ‘Our God, our Help in ages past.’ 

And please note, it seems like Isaac wrote it as ‘Our God,’ and not ‘O,’ or ‘Oh God,’ as has become popular. And as our voices rise to heaven in sweet song, let’s consider each word and sentiment we sing and realize, admit that they are gospel truth. 

As one earthly host now: ‘Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come, our Shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal Home. Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure. Before the hills in order stood or earth received its frame, from everlasting Thou art God, to endless years the same. 

A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an ev’ning gone, short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun. Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away; they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the op’ning day. Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come, be Thou our Guide while life shall last, and our eternal Home!’ 

Yes friends, EVERY sentiment we just sang there is the living truth, and I hope it just melted our hearts, but simultaneously had it bursting with joy and LOVE for our wonderful God! 

No wonder Peter could so confidently declare in our Bit and following: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us unto a lively (living, constant) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ (1 Pet.1:3-5) 

Oh friends, if there is one thing we’re certain of is hope of salvation because of Jesus’ resurrection! Glory Be! Now listen to the scholars: ‘1:3-5. The portrayal of salvation looks to the future. The author of salvation is portrayed as the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The work of salvation (vs.3-5) is described as to its effect. 

Hath begotten us again refers to a new stage of life that begins at salvation. This lively hope has no element of uncertainty, for it is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The believer’s inheritance is described as incorruptible, imperishable or indestructible, and undefiled (i.e., morally untainted). 

That fadeth not away, means it is not subject to the ravages of time. Further it is reserved, that is, it has been preserved in the past and still is in heaven. Kept is a present passive participle – we are secure because we are continually guarded by God, who never relaxes His vigil. Salvation here refers to final salvation, that is, deliverance from the presence of sin, and into the presence of God.’ 

How could it get any better than that eh my people? When we place our sincere trust in Jesus we end up in a new stage of life, salvation, with an assured inheritance that cannot be corrupted, does not deteriorate, is morally untainted, and is specially reserved for us in heaven! And on top of all that, we are guarded night and day by an omnipotent Deity, who never sleeps. 

Mama Mia! Now I don’t know about anybody else nuh, but to me, that’s an offer I cannot refuse! And I do hope that ALL of you reading today’s Bit will feel the same way, because the other option is a terrible one; separation from God, and companionship with the evil Lucifer and his legion of evil cohorts.  

But to get that lively hope friends, we need to be born again. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ (John 3:3) 

And when Nicodemus looked puzzled and asked about physically entering again into one’s mother’s womb, and being born again, Jesus clarified it for him. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ (John 3:5-6) 

So friends, if we are not born of the Spirit, have a supernatural spiritual birth in the name of Jesus, most likely we will be excluded  from heaven. And that is certainly the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being. So please be warned, and wisely take the necessary steps to assure that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, for therein lies salvation and eternal life. Much LOVE!

…as for me and mine…brother…we are definitely riding shotgun with Jesus…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 January 2018 Isaiah 25:4.

Isaiah 25:4.   For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 

Ah friends, we’re sailing on the good ship Sunday, towards the sanctuary of God, where we will fall on our knees and praise and worship Him, give Him innumerable thanks, exalt His holy name and glorify Him without ceasing! 

Wow! What a time we will have in the sanctuary as we fellowship with each other, encourage each other, hear God’s word and bury it deep in our hearts, and souls, and eventually leave the sanctuary fortified with His strength and confidence, able to withstand whatever comes against us. And please remember the immortal words of the psalmist; this is the day the Lord hath made, let us all rejoice and be glad in it! That’s both wisdom and common sense friends! 

And as always, we’ll open the proceedings with worship in sweet song. This morning we’ll sing a Christian Gospel tune titled ‘The Anchor Holds.’ It was originally written by a pastor, songwriter called Lawrence Chewning. Apparently the year of 1992 became known as the year of sorrows for him and his family. 

One sorrow after another hit them and finally Lawrence, depressed and discouraged, was left burnt out, so he took a six month sabbatical from his pastoring duties and during that time began playing the piano more, in an attempt to get closer to God. In this sorrowful time he read stuff about the long dark night of the soul, when it seems you just can’t find God anywhere, and also experienced that emptiness for a while. 

Then, one day, in his many hours of playing the piano, he discovered that he was writing a song, a song that was coming from deep down in his soul. It was so touching that it provided him with therapeutic help in his depression and discouragement. But the song was some ten minutes long. However, a couple of years later, he offered the song to his friend, Christian singer songwriter, Ray Boltz, who edited and recorded it and made it a hit. 

Ah friends, ‘The Anchor Holds’ is one of my favourite Gospel songs because I can testify to the truth of those immortal words. And if you’re a true believer, so too can you. So let’s offer it up through the sacrifice of our lips now nuh, with appropriate reverence and heartfelt sincerity. In glorious harmony: ‘I have journeyed Through the long dark night Out on the open sea By faith alone Sight unknown And yet His eyes were watching me (Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn) 

I have fallen on my knees As I faced the raging seas The anchor holds In spite of the storm I’ve had visions I’ve had dreams I’ve even held them in my hand But I never knew They would slip right through Like they were only grains of sand (Chorus) I have been young But I am older now And there has been beauty these eyes have seen But it was in the night Through the storms of my life Oh that’s where God proved His LOVE to me. 

(Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn. Ohhh yes, The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn).’ 

Ah mih people what words of truth and encouragement! And it’s only when we are going through a stormy period in life that we can write such heartfelt words. You’ll notice too, that it’s during the storm that God proves His wonderful and unconditional LOVE to us, more so than when the seas are calm and quiet. 

Because that’s when we need Him the most, when we discover that our efforts are too puny to withstand the storm that’s bruising and battering us. And only when we take refuge in His safe harbour, when we allow Him to anchor our hearts and souls in the sheltered bay that’s His awesome LOVE and grace that we truly find rest and rejuvenation for our troubled, storm-filled lives. 

Oh what a wonderful God is our God! No wonder in Isaiah’s song of praise by the redeemed the survivors of the Great Tribulation exalt the Lord, lift their voices in praise to God for His protection. ‘O Lord, thou art my God: I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap (a ruin); of a defensed (fortified) city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built (rebuilt). 

Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible (ruthless) nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.’ (Is.25:1-4) 

Yeh friends, our God runs things; He controls it all. So in your time of need, who are you going to call eh, who are you going to run to for refuge? Almighty God, if you are wise! As the old reggae song says, ‘You’ll run to the rock for rescue, but there will be no rock.’ But if you run to the Creator of the universe, you’ll find Him ready, willing and able to offer help. 

As Isaiah prophesies about Jerusalem’s glorious future. ‘And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow (shade) in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert (shelter) from the storm and from rain.’ (Is.4:6) 

Oh friends, there’s no better place to hunker down in stormy times than under the wings of our heavenly Father, just like chicks hide under the mother hen’s wings when it rains, for under there we are guaranteed safe passage through the storms of life. Much LOVE!

…through the heartache…through the storm…take my hand precious Lord…lead me on…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 January 2018 Psalm 28:7.

Psalm 28:7.   The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Ah mih people, 2018 has certainly come roaring in like a ravaging lion with a wicked winter storm mashing up the East coast of North America, after we’ve already been in a deep freeze for the past two weeks. 

Boston is apparently a mess from snow and flooding caused by surging sea tides. Places in Florida that have not seen snow in decades have certainly seen it now. All the snowbirds that left Canada to winter in Florida must be pretty annoyed. 

They’re calling this extraordinary winter storm a ‘Bomb Cyclone!’ Why I don’t know, but it’s certainly living up to its name. Let’s hope that my li’l area doesn’t get any of it, because all we’ve been seeing and feeling recently is white and cold! Hn! 

But I must say that the ordinary workingman does have an extraordinary resilience to this type of weather, for it has not stopped him from boldly declaring his song: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday and the weekend reach at last! So it cold and snowy, so what? Is winter in the north country, that’s what it’s all about! 

We not going to let a li’l bit of snow and cold stop our partying, stop us from enjoying we two days off from slave labour! Hell no! We going to go outside and play in the snow, then come inside and warm up with some hot toddies! (And his beady eyes twinkle at the thought) What a wonderful weekend it’s going to be! Thank God for Fridays and weekends yes!’ 

Ah Lord eh! I daresay that not all of us are feeling that way. Definitely no playing in the snow…but the hot toddies…well…maybe… (smile) Now let’s chant our Friday Chant, which runs somewhat contrary to the workingman’s song, because our emphasis is not on play and our carnal appetites. 

‘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.’ 

Oh friends, it’s not that we Christians don’t or can’t have fun, but fun is not our goal; working and living for Jesus is. And though that includes having fun, it also means being more focused and cautious about overstepping certain boundaries that can get us in serious trouble. And some of that trouble can have serious lifetime consequences. So it’s not advisable for believers to just go overboard in their leisure time. 

Anyway, enough preaching; (smile) here is our Bit: ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.’ And that’s the awesome truth my brethren, as Bruh David found out during his rough times. Who else are we going to turn to in our time of need and trouble eh? Obviously the One who made us and still cares for us! 

Bruh David said before our Bit: ‘Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.’ (Ps.28:6) And it only makes sense to turn to someone who hears your cry for help. And we’ve seen throughout the Good Book that it was to the God of his forefathers that Bruh David turned when the enemy came a calling. 

Hear him from Psalm 18 – A prayer for deliverance. ‘I will LOVE thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust; my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ (Ps.18:1:3) 

What powerful sentiments my people! But that’s because Bruh David didn’t only turn to God in times of need, he kept Him in his heart ALL the time! And that’s why the Lord saved him from his enemies. Oh friends, it’s the same thing the Lord desires of us; to be with Him all the time, not just when life gets rough to remember Him and cry out for help and expect it to come right away. 

Please note that Bruh David was not exempt from trials and tribulations, he had more than his fair share, but the Lord made sure that he came through them safely. Likewise friends, we will experience trouble and heartaches in our lives, but if like Bruh David, we stay anchored in the Word and faith of our great God, then He will also bring us through the fires of our lives unscathed. 

Remember how he brought out the three Jewish boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace, without them even smelling of smoke. And more importantly, while they were in the furnace, king Nebuchadnezzar saw four people in there. Obviously the fourth was either the preincarnate Christ who often appeared in the Old Testament, or an angel of the Lord sent to protect them. (Daniel 3) 

So my faithful brethren, it only makes good sense, it’s eternal wisdom to place our trust in the One who created us and still cares for us. And there’s no better way to end today than with the ever-faithful promise of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) Words to live by my people! Much LOVE!

…with the Spirit of the Lord dwelling in us…there’s  absolutely no need to be afraid…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 January 2018 Psalm 104:24.

Psalm 104:24.   O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

So how shall we begin this morning eh friends? I guess by giving the Lord much thanks and praise as we ought to, as is our bounden duty! 

First of all let’s thank Him for the life we have this morning, for bringing us through the past night of darkness into the bright sunshine of Jesus’ day. Let’s thank Him for all that He’s done for us during the past year and all the good stuff He has planned for us in this new year. 

Ah friends, without God’s grace, mercy and LOVING-kindness we’re nothing, and can do nothing worthwhile. Let’s remember that and keep coming to His throne in humble prayer to get all of our daily needs, for that’s the storehouse from which they all emanate. 

Have you ever wondered how this great universe is so self-sufficient? The earth just seems to stand suspended in space; the seasons roll around on time without any timekeeper; rains fall, the sun shines, the moon does it’s thing, the winds and the seas do their thing too, all without any apparent outward help. 

Birds, insects and animals have their food provided for them and keep on in an unbroken cycle. Humans are born, live and die, and the world continues moving and functioning in perfect harmony…without any apparent outward help. Yes my people, Planet Earth functions so harmoniously because of the wisdom and strength of Almighty God who made it and all therein. 

The only time when stuff gets screwed up on earth is when we humans, supposed superior beings, get involved and throw God’s perfect timing off. But have no fear, despite our foolish and mindless messing with His perfect universe, He is still in total control of it. 

No wonder the psalmist declares so profoundly in our Bit: ‘O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.’ 

Oh friends, the works of our great God are indeed manifold; plentiful, various, different, but all fine tuned to the nth degree, because our God isn’t only a Jack of all trades, but more importantly, a Master of them all! 

Thus, when dealing with the problem of idols in Israel, which were only the work of cunning men, the prophet Jeremiah could unequivocally proclaim: ‘But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God; and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. 

Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his discretion (understanding). 

When He uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth for the wind out of his treasures.’ (Jer.10:10-13) 

What a mighty God we serve my people! The ONE and only true and Living God! And Jeremiah was so convinced of his words that he uttered them again in Chapter 51:15-19, when talking about the Lord’s judgement on Babylon. 

Meanwhile listen to Cousin Sol’s take on the subject. ‘The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths (deeps) are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.’ (Prov.3:19-20) 

Ah friends, if you’d only sit and ponder the miraculous spectacle that is the earth and all that moves within it, you’d realize that it would take an awfully mighty, wise and powerful Being to put it all together so seamlessly. And that being is our great God Jehovah! Give him much praise and thanks! 

And Job says it thus: ‘He (God) is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered? Which removeth the mountains, and they know not; which overturneth them in his anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars…

Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not. Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder (prevent) him? Who will say unto him, What doest thou?’ (Job 9:4-7,10-12) 

Now that’s a very good question my people? Who will say unto Almighty God, what are you doing eh? Nobody in his right senses! But we are wise enough not to question God, instead we’ll serve and worship Him in all goodness of heart and thus enjoy His awesome blessings. Let’s tell it to the world friends, let’s declare our Thursday Blessings and let them know how the great God we serve rewards those who faithfully serve Him. 

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 my people, in 2018, this Year of LOVE, let’s go out and share those blessings with the less fortunate nuh, for that’s what Jesus desires of us! Much LOVE!

…walking closely with Jesus…means sharing whatever He’s blessed us with…

 

 

 

 

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 2 December 2017 Hebrews 1:4.

Hebrews 1:4.   Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Well mih people, we’re into the month of December and the Christmas season is already madly upon us! Oh the lights are up, people are busily running around in search of gifts and presents for their LOVED ones, planning office parties, and making plans to go home for Christmas. 

But before we go any further friends, let me make one thing abundantly clear: JESUS is the reason for Christmas and the Happy Holidays or whatever you choose to call them nowadays, and if you are not celebrating Him, His birth and glorious coming to earth, then you’re not truly celebrating Christmas. 

Jesus MUST BE, HAS TO BE, the focal point of the entire season, or else you’re just mouthing the man made platitudes and falling into the worldly trap of it being just a time for gifts and merry making. All the worldly trappings are, and should be just ancillary stuff to the importance of Jesus. 

Remember, WITHOUT Jesus, there would be no celebrations! Matter fix! (smile) Just thought I’d get that in there before we all begin running around like chickens with our heads cut off making Christmas preparations. Those preparations are supposed to begin and end in our hearts, with gratitude and praise and thanksgiving for Jesus coming to earth to save us. 

Now since it’s Saturday, let’s turn our attention to some quotes from our friend Anselm, who aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘Never complain, never explain. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or make excuses.’ I don’t think I’d go so far as to say ‘never,’ because complaints, excuses and defending ourselves are a natural part of our make up, but we should certainly keep them to a minimum. 

And then there is this: ‘If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.’ That has the definite ring of truth to it! You can’t achieve unless you improve yourself. 

Now listen to this one: ‘Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.’ I don’t know if ‘any’ decision is better than ‘no’ decision at all, because by making no decision, you are in fact making a decision not to make a decision. (smile) However to be people of integrity and good character, we must be decisive, and not continually waver. 

And this last quote is a gem. ‘The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.’ It’s just the basic law of God; give and it will be given unto you. How much you sow is how much you’ll reap. And have you ever noticed that in life, those who get the biggest accolades are those who seek them the least, Jesus being one of those people? 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.’  

And what I want to do today friends, is talk some on the subject of angels. We hear a lot about them in the Bible, but I don’t think our pastors preach much, or enough on them, more or less relegating them to a secondary or even tertiary role. But angels play a large part in the kingdom of heaven; they are like the worker bees in a hive, and have their own ministry. 

I think it’s time we learn a little more about them because back in Bruh Paul’s day, they were even worshipped, and he had to warn against it. ‘Let no man beguile (defraud) you of your reward in a voluntary humility (delighting in false humility) and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.’ (Col.2:18) Basically these heretics, false teachers, would rob the Colossians of their spiritual blessings if they listened to them and worshipped angels. 

Now let’s see what the scholars have to say about angels and their ministry. ‘1:4. Angels are created spiritual beings who are servants of God. The word ‘angel’ means “messenger.” Though they also have power to become visible in human form, they are incorporeal beings (no solid body), possessing intellect, emotion, and will. 

The word ‘angel’ is always used in the masculine gender, although sex in the human sense is never ascribed to them. They have great power (2 Kin.19:35), but are not omnipotent. They have extensive wisdom (2 Sam.14:20), but are not omniscient. Their number is great (an innumerable company of angels) Heb.12:22), but not limitless. 

Illustration: Man is made “a little lower than the angels” (2:7), although the same writer reminds us that Christ is greater than the angels (vs.4). Application: There are a number of benefits derived from understanding the ministry of angels. When we realize that they constantly observe our Christian lives (1 Cor.4:9; 11:10; Eph. 3:10), we will improve our conduct. When we understand how they protect us, we will appreciate God’s care for us (vs.7). 

When we consider their tremendous strength and ability, we will be encouraged. Finally, their example of unceasing service ought to motivate us to more consistent service for God. (First Ref. Gen.1:1 – ‘heaven’ is plural in Hebrew, meaning God created the whole, with its innumerable separate parts, including angels; Primary Ref. Heb.1:4; cf. Heb.12:22).’ 

Oh friends, please check out those reference scriptures, I just did, and they back up and make clearer a whole lot of things. Hope this session on angels opens our hearts and minds and gives us a better understanding of the heavenly hierarchy and our place in it. Much LOVE!

…without guardian angels…we would be in a much bigger mess than we’re in…

 

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