Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 August 2017 Ephesians 5:10.

Ephesians 5:10.   Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Oh friends, another bright and glorious morning has dawned in my neighbourhood! All thanks to our wonderful God, who gives us our daily bread and heavenly mercies brand new, each and every day! 

What would we do without Him in our lives eh? I don’t know, and I don’t want to find out either. (smile) That’s why we should try at all times to walk faithfully in His word and have constant companionship with Him. 

And please remember, it’s not for His benefit, but for ours. He is God, and controls EVERYTHING! We are His creation, His minions, made to serve and worship Him and spread the good news gospel of His Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ around the entire world. All the while walking in LOVE! 

Now here is some solid advice from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that will help us to do just that. It was given to a young lady having a hard time living with a non-believing husband, but it also applies to all of us across the board. It’s four DON’TS and four DO’S. 

First the DON’TS (1) Don’t push. (2) Don’t preach. (3) Don’t pretend. (4) Don’t puncture his (or anyone else’s) self-esteem. 

And the DO’s tell us: (1) Do permeate your home with LOVE. (2) Do practice forgiving. (3) Do pay compliments to him (and also others) often. (4) Do persist in prayer. 

What a simple but very wonderful and workable way to live my brethren! Oh…there’s one more DON’T. ‘Don’t ever, ever, ever give up!’ 

And yuh know friends, that last DON’T is possibly the most important of them all, for with Jesus, and those who walk steadfastly with Him, there is absolutely NO giving up! 

We need to persevere in the faith and pursue His plan for our lives right to the very end. We need to run our race of life with enthusiasm and chutzpah, patience and perseverance, so that at the end we’ll receive the crown of glory that the Lord has prepared for all those who successfully finish the race. 

And on a point of interest, the lady who gave the advice above, a year later, received a thank-you note from the other lady, informing her that that strategy was working. 

Glory to God my people! Yuh see it works! (smile) We just have to be serious about it and keep working at it… with a LOVING heart, like Jesus does. 

And the scripture promise for that reading today is also our Bit. ‘Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.’ 

And what does that mean? The scholars explain: ‘5:10. Because of constant temptation and solicitations to evil, believers must always be proving or discerning what is and what is not acceptable unto the Lord.’ 

Yes friends, as Christians, we ought always to be considering what is right and wrong in God’s sight, and do the right thing. It’s not an easy row to hoe because of the numerous distractions and temptations floating around our society, but with God’s help, we can certainly discern the right from the wrong. 

Before our Bit, explaining the way of the believer, Bruh Paul said it thus: ‘Let no man deceive you with vain (empty) words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children (sons) of disobedience. Be not therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes (once) darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.’ (Eph.5:6-8) 

And the scholars offer this explanation of that last verse. ‘5:8. Darkness indicates that the readers used to be spiritually unenlightened, and accompanying this ignorance was immorality with its resultant guilt and misery. Light denotes that the recipients are now to be religiously informed. Their knowledge of the truth is attended by moral purity and happiness.’ 

Oh friends, life is so much better and more fruitful when we walk as children of light! That’s why Bruh Paul admonished the church at Rome thus: ‘I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (rational) service. 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ (Rom.12:1-2) 

Ah mih people, God has done so much for us, washing and cleansing and redeeming us from sin and offering us salvation, through Christ, that we now need to be clean before Him. And since our bodies were the original instruments of sin, we now need to present them ‘to God as a channel through which the righteousness of God is manifested.’ 

And we do that by not conforming to the sinful, evil and immoral works, attitudes and behaviour of the world. And since we are indeed the righteousness in Christ (smile) we can now go home declaring our Wednesday Wail which supports that contention. 

All together now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. 

My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Oh friends, what more can we ask eh? Absolutely NOTHING! Much LOVE!

…if you’re walking with Jesus…and don’t have a peaceful joy in your soul…then something is seriously wrong…ask Him to help you fix it…

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 July 2017 Matthew 6:13.

Matthew 6:13.   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Well friends, cloudy days are here again, but the hearts of all believers are shining brightly with the brilliant light of the Son! Glory to God! 

Yes my believing brethren, the outside weather might be dark and dreary, but there’s absolutely no reason for our hearts to look the same since we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit of our omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent triumvirate God living within us, leading and guiding us to victory in Jesus! 

Wow! What a blessed honour that is my people! That’s why on this cloudy Monday morning, at least in my area, we need to get ourselves together and get out strong and work diligently on Jesus’ behalf. 

And since Mondays are not kind to many of us (smile) let’s belt out our antidote for those Monday Blues, our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. With one heart and voice now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! 

We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Oh I know friends, the adrenaline is just running through us now, and we’re rearing to go out and optimize our efforts in this evil and ungodly world and right whatever wrongs we can, all in the name of Jesus our Lord and Blessed Saviour! 

And so we should, on the basis of all that He has done for us; selflessly bringing us salvation and eternal life through His woeful death on the cross at Calvary and then His triumphant Resurrection on Easter Sunday! 

Now let’s look at our Bit, probably the last day for this one, (smile) who know eh? ‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.’ Meaningful direction from Jesus on how we should pray. 

Now yesterday we saw how He prayed sincerely to His heavenly Father for us, and it really touched my heart. Today we’ll look at why He had to pray for us, and why we still need lots of prayer. 

Listen to James. ‘Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.’ (James 1:13) Words of absolute truth friends! 

God doesn’t tempt us, for He doesn’t want us to do wrong. But He might allow some stuff to come against us to try our faithfulness. So why then do we fall victim to temptation eh? 

James further enlightens us. ‘But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust (fleshly desires), and enticed.’ (James 1:14) Yeh mih people, it’s our sinful nature that propels us to temptation. 

And what happens when we give into temptation? Hear James again. ‘Then when the lust (fleshly desire) hath conceived, it bringeth forth (gives birth to) sin, when it is finished (full grown), bringeth forth death.’ (James 1:15) 

Oh friends, here we need to remember those immortal words of Bruh Paul to the Romans: ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is everlasting life through (in) Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom.6:23) 

Yes precious people of God, as the scholars tell us: ‘6:23. Wages: Emphasizes what we deserve. Gift of God: Emphasizes God’s unmerited favour.’ 

However, we can only receive that unmerited free gift by believing on God’s Son, Jesus Christ. So it’s a decision each human being needs to make. Succumb to temptation and thus death; eternal separation from Almighty God, or accept Jesus and live forever with Him in heavenly places. 

And that’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned, since eternal separation from God is the WORST thing that can ever happen to a human being. 

Now let’s close with an interesting statement from Peter. ‘The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished.’ (2 Pet.2:9) 

Ah mih people, hopefully that statement reverberates in our hearts today and helps to keep us away from temptation. Much LOVE!

…temptation always seems so enticing…but in reality…it holds a deathly viper’s sting…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 July 2017 Matthew 6:13.

Matthew 6:13.   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Ah friends, it’s another glorious Sunday morning and we’re gathered in the Lord’s sanctuary to praise and worship, glorify and exalt Him, as well as receive His awesome grace and mercy, strength and guidance for the new week that’s upcoming. 

And as always, let’s open with a song of wonderful praise; ‘When I survey the wondrous cross.’ This is one of my favourite hymns, and it brings back fond memories of a boy growing up in Tobago and St.Andrew’s church in Scarborough during the Easter season, packed to capacity on a Sunday morning, full of young people, all raising their voices in praise. 

So let’s raise our own voices in sacrificial praise now my people, let the heavens reverberate with the powerful and sincere sound of our voices, singing these inspirational words penned by Isaac Watts many moons ago, which Charles Wesley, another prominent hymn writer, reputedly said he would have given up all his songs, to be able to say he wrote this one. 

‘When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! 

All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood. See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and LOVE flow mingled down! Did e’er such LOVE and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? 

His dying crimson, like a robe, Spreads o’er His body on the tree; Then I am dead to all the globe, And all the globe is dead to me. Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; LOVE so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all. 

[Added by the compilers of Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern] To Christ, who won for sinners grace By bitter grief and anguish sore, Be praise from all the ransomed race. Forever and forevermore.’ 

Oh my fellow believers what a magnificent pouring out of praise in words that just touch the heart and truthfully reflect the awesome and sacrificial deed that Jesus so selflessly suffered on our behalf! 

Without His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary, we’d all still be worthless sinners pegged for hell with the evil one Lucifer. But through Jesus’ superhuman efforts we now are bound for glory instead through salvation and eternal life! Oh Glory be my brethren! 

Ah friends, as Christians we should be happy like pigs in mud! (smile) And when we check out our Bit, those immortal words of Jesus in His blueprint for prayer, we should get even more joyful – if that’s possible (smile), because it assures us that we have a heavenly Father who is constantly watching over and guiding us, to whom we can turn to for comfort and succour in ALL situations! 

Wow! How could we not LOVE Jesus eh, after all He’s done for us? And if you don’t believe me, then please listen to how Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father on our behalf before He underwent His own tough times. 

‘I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more (longer) in the world, but these are in the world; and I come to thee Holy Father, keep them through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost (destroyed), but the son of perdition (destruction); (Judas), that the scripture might be fulfilled. 

And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil (one). 

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them (set them apart for your purposes) through thy truth: thy word is truth. And as thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me. 

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast LOVED them, as thou hast LOVED me. 

Father, I will (desire) that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou LOVEDST me before the foundation of the world. 

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the LOVE wherewith thou hast LOVED me may be in them, and I in them.’ 

Wow mih breddren, what an awesome prayer! I never intended to print it all, but once I got started I just could not stop. I doubt that anyone else has ever prayed so sincerely and fervently for any of us. Jesus even prayed for those that would come after Him, meaning the Gentiles, people like us. 

And I have to confess, that though I’ve read those words before, they’ve never meant so much, or made such a difference before. I truly appreciate them now, and so I hope do you my fellow believers. It just goes to show the truth in the saying, the more we read the Word, the more our eyes are opened. Much LOVE!

…Jesus didn’t only die for us…He also prayed for us…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 July 2017 Matthew 6:13.

Matthew 6:13.   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Saturday, O Saturday! What have you got in store for me today eh? Will it be an easy day, just lazing around the house or going out and taking in the sights? Or will it be pure drudgery, like household chores and grocery shopping?  

Whatever kind of day you turn out to be though Saturday, I’m sure of this one thing; I’ll constantly have the company of Jesus with me, always by my side to provide a healthy chuckle or lend a helping hand when times get difficult. And we’re going to have good time, because this is the day the Lord has made, therefore we shall rejoice and be glad in it. Glory be, mih breddren! 

What a joy and a pleasure it is to have Jesus hanging out with us. Chuh! It couldn’t get any better than that nuh! And though I could go on singing the praises of Jesus all day, He requires me to look at some of the quotes that our friend Anselm blessed us with this week, as he aspires to inspire us to a better tomorrow. 

And this first quote is something many of us believers need to put into practice. ‘If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.’ Remember friends, it’s a good, Christian attitude and always putting your best foot forward that eventually brighten your way. 

This next quote should be obvious. ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ Doing the same thing, or thinking the same way, won’t get different results. 

Now these next two, which I’ve made one, are certainly interesting. ‘Problems are only opportunities in work clothes. Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.’ And there’s lots of truth in them both, for problems usually show us opportunities, as well as guide us in sound decision making. 

And this last quote is a definite winner! ‘Do what you want to do. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ 

Gospel truth that friends! But we need to do our do with a modicum of circumspection and with God always predominant in the mix. And I can give a personal testimony to that, because over the years I’ve gone out on a limb – am still doing it (smile) – and done some of my heart’s desires. 

Now they were expensive in terms of time, energy, money and emotional distress, but the Lord allowed me to experience them, and I don’t regret them, because they were all learning experiences. But I have to chuckle when I remember how the Lord eased me out of them all, when He considered it time to seriously get into His Word and write His Bit. God gives us dreams, my brethren, so that we can go after them and bring them to fruition and glorify His holy name. 

Okay, enough rambling, let’s turn to our Bit, everlasting words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, as He taught the disciples, and by extension, us, how to pray. ‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.’ 

Now yesterday we saw from the scholars’ explanation that God doesn’t tempt us, though He allows some to come against us to test our faithfulness. James gives us this talk on the subject. ‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them the LOVE him.’ (James 1:12) 

And the scholars have some interesting opinions on that verse which give us better understanding. ‘1:12. Mankind understandably may look on tragedy as the curse of God, as Job’s friends did. Trials are, however, the means through which God’s blessings can come. One’s endurance in and victory over trials bring God’s blessings. Christians, therefore, are not instructed to seek avenues of escape. 

God desires that they mature in the situation rather than move from it. (cf. Rom.5:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:6-7). He does, however, promise to provide an escape if the testing becomes unbearable (1 Cor.10:13). God’s people need to meditate more on James 1:12 than 1 Cor.10:13. The reason for this, and why God allows trials in the lives of His people is revealed in the Mosaic Law: “That he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end” (Deut. 8:16).’  

Ah mih people, I know that doesn’t sit well with some of us, since we’d prefer to escape all the trials and tests. But then how will we ever grow in faith eh, if we keep running from difficulties, because it’s in difficult times that we grow and mature? 

And we’ll end with the verse from Bruh Paul to the Corinthians which the scholars believe makes us too soft and sappy. ‘There hath no temptation taken (overtaken) you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear (endure) it.’ (1 Cor.10:13) 

And please note friends, the scholars tell us that the Greek term used in that verse refers more to a safe landing place for a ship, than for an actual escape. So the Lord’s plan is not for us to entirely escape the temptation, but help us to endure it and come out safely on the other side. 

Let’s therefore stop thinking about only escaping temptation, but more about fighting through them and coming out victorious on the other side, with God’s help of course.  That’s wisdom of eternal proportions! Much LOVE!

…only by fighting through trials…rather than escaping them…can a believer grow in faith…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 July 2017 Matthew 6:13.

Matthew 6:13.   And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Well my people, we did not get the rain that we were expecting in my area yesterday, it just remained drab and cloudy, showing promise, but nothing else. However, shortly after midnight, heavenly showers came pelting down in a big way and finally the thirsty ground was watered and refreshed. Praise to God! 

Right now it’s still damp and cloudy outside, and who knows what will happen later on. But nonetheless it’s Friday, and the weekend looms large and the ordinary workingman can’t help but shout: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! It seems like the weekend would never come! And massa work so blooming hard…and the pay so li’l bit! 

But for the next couple days we don’t have to worry about massa and he work at all, at all nuh. It’s we time to do what we want… where and with whom. And believe me, come rain or shine, we going to party hearty for the next couple days! Oh Thank God for Fridays and the weekends! Party people, let the party begin!’ 

And who doesn’t like a party eh, especially after a hard week of work? But the boundaries, friends, the boundaries must be tighter than those the ordinary workingman seem to be proposing, else we’re liable to fall into too many evil, ungodly and carnal acts of the flesh, which won’t sit right with our supposed Christian character. 

Our Friday Chant contains a much better intent, so let’s declare it now in all sincerity and truth. ‘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 people, I know that it seems to take all the fun out of living, out of the carnal aspect of life yes, but it reinforces our Christian values, which we need to keep firm and steadfast so that we don’t fall to the endless temptation that the evil enemy constantly throws at us. 

That brings us to our Bit, immortal words of Jesus, a part of what He gave us as a blueprint for prayer. ‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.’ 

Yes, precious followers of Christ, we indeed need to seek the power of God to help us resist the entreaties of the evil one, who constantly comes bearing worldly, carnal, sinful gifts to entice us into foregoing our righteousness. 

We can’t do it on our own, for our sinful and lustful flesh naturally leans towards the ungodly things of the world. And it’s only through the amazing power of God, His Holy Spirit working in us, that we can resist the fleshly pleasures and beautiful looking things of the world that are constantly held up to us for participation and acceptance. 

Now listen to the scholars’ explanation of that verse. ‘6:13-15. Lead us not into temptation is a plea for the providential help of God in our daily confrontation with the temptation of sin. God does not tempt us to do evil, but we are tempted by our own lusts (James 1:13-14). 

However, God does test us in order to give us the opportunity to prove our faithfulness to Him. He never desires to lead us into evil itself. Therefore if we resist the Devil, we are promised that he will flee from us. 

The prayer closes with a doxology of praise: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen, which is a liturgical ending similar to 1 Chronicles 29:11. Though omitted in some manuscripts, these words constitute a fitting and climactic affirmation of faith.’ 

Yeh friends, it’s faith and hope; hungry hope and expectant faith that carries us through the dark times, as well as the good times. Let’s not forget our awesome God when things are going well with us, as we are so tempted to do. Remembering all the good things He has done for us in the past helps to strengthen our faith. 

Now let’s end with the magnificent prayer of Bruh David to which the scholars alluded, after he encouraged his people to give generously to the building of the Lord’s sanctuary. 

‘Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. 

Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.’ (1 Chr.29:11-13) 

What beautiful words of praise and thanksgiving friends! Please, let’s allow them to seep into our hearts and souls today, and gently simmer there as we go about doing the work of Jesus. That’s wisdom of eternal proportions! Much LOVE!

…God does not tempt…He combats temptation…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 July 2017 Psalm 95:6.

Psalm 95:6.    O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

Oh Glory to God my fellow believers for blessing us with another bountiful day on Planet Earth! And also for giving us the wonderful privilege of being able to gather together, in His sanctuary this Sabbath Sunday morning, to praise and worship Him and to hear His awesome word, which, as its truth seeps into our hearts and souls will strengthen us, by giving us His mercy, grace and guidance to face the upcoming week! 

What a wonderful God we serve and worship my people! Every day He gives me greater reason to make that declaration. And when I reached out for a song of praise and worship for us to sing today, I just felt like getting closer to our Maker, hence this old hymn, ‘Nearer My God to Thee,’ written in the 19th century by Sarah Adams. 

It is based on the topic of loyalty and the scriptures of Genesis 28:11-13, when God spoke to Jacob at Bethel and promised to make his progeny abundant and prosperous. It’s also based on Psalm 42:2: – An intense longing for God. ‘My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before him.’ 

Therefore friends, this morning, if our souls indeed thirst for the living God, then let’s offer the sacrifice of praise from our lips, as we endeavour to get closer, or as close as we can get to Him on this our earthly journey. So in full voice, in unison and perfect harmony, let’s sing! ‘Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me, Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain: Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!) 

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down, Darkness be over me, my rest a stone; Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain) There let the way appear, steps unto Heav’n; All that Thou sendest me, in mercy giv’n; Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain) Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise, Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise; So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain) 

Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky, Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I’ll fly, Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee. (Refrain) There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest, There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest; Age after age to be nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!’ 

Oh faithful saints of Christ, that was marvellous! And as we sang, one could feel the strong and beautiful presence of God in His house! The heartfelt feelings were so sincere that He had no choice but to grace us with His Holy presence! 

Now let’s continue in that same vein; the sincere seeking and longing for and getting closer to God by invoking the glorious words and advice of our Bit. ‘O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.’ That’s the ultimate act my brethren; coming before the Lord in sincere, heartfelt prayer! Why, you ask? 

Listen as the psalmist explains after our Bit. ‘For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand (under His care). (Ps.95:7a) There could be no better reason than that friends: we are beholden to our great and wonderful God in each and every aspect of our lives! We are His people, and He cares for us, both in LOVE and by providing our earthly needs every day. 

But then the psalmist does something strange; he pleads with us: ‘Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation (rebellion); and as in the day of temptation (trial or testing) in the wilderness. When your fathers tempted (tried) me, proved me, and saw my work.’(Ps.95:7b-9) 

Now why would anyone in their right mind, rebel against God and try to test Him eh? Especially after they had seen the wonderful miracles he had performed on their behalf while bringing them out of four hundred years of bondage in Egypt? Only a people mad with lustful desires of the flesh, egged on by Lucifer could be so obtuse as to rebel against their maker. 

Consequently, the psalmist, speaking on God’s behalf, continues: ‘Forty years long was I grieved with (disgusted with) this generation, and said, It is a people that do err (go astray) in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.’ (Ps.95:10-11) And God fulfilled His promised, when only Caleb and Joshua of all those who had left Egypt, set foot in the Promised Land. 

For forty years the Israelites wandered aimlessly in the desert because of their disobedience to Almighty God. And friends, it just boggles my imagination that they could be so stupid after seeing all the miracles of God! No other group of people, to this day, has seen God work so miraculously on their behalf. Just the parting of the Red Sea should have been enough to convince them forever. 

However friends, they saw it and didn’t believe, we didn’t see it, but let’s be wise nuh; let’s believe and be obedient, otherwise we will not enter into God’s rest. And let these words of Jesus to His doubting disciple Thomas, be a sure promise to us. ‘Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’(John 20:29) 

Words of absolute wisdom my brethren! Words to wisely and confidently live by! Much LOVE!

…true faith in Jesus…means…believing…without…or before seeing…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 May 2017 1 Peter 5:8.

1 Peter 5:8.    Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Awright mih breddren, it’s Monday morning, so let’s be up and at ‘em nuh! 

‘Not today,’ claim our U.S. breddren. ‘Today is our Memorial Day Holiday, where we celebrate our fallen war heroes, so no work for us today. Praise the Lord!’ 

Yes friends, the shoe is on the other foot this week; last week we in Canada had Monday off for our Victoria Day Holiday, this week the U.S honours their patriots. But since it’s still a day of labour for most of us, we still need to sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn to get us going. So with as much verve and enthusiasm as we can muster, let’s sing. 

‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

And as expected, the loudest and most off key voices were those who did not have to go to work today, and were already into the celebrations. But just remember, please listen to Granny’s advice. ‘Drunk or sober mind yuh business.’ We don’t want to go giving the evil one any foothold in our souls, for he is always lurking around, always on the prowl to find someone he can invade and cultivate. 

That’s why Peter, after telling us to humble ourselves before God, and to cast our care on him, because He cares for us, so strenuously warns in our Bit. ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.’ 

And that’s the gospel truth friends!  Remember when Satan came before God in Job? ‘And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.’ (Job 1:7) 

And the scholars offer this explanation: ‘1:7. From going to and from in the earth refers to Satan’s activity. Though he does not admit it here, Satan’s character clearly shows that his many travels are for evil purposes.  In 1 Peter 5:8. Satan is described as “your adversary the devil…seeking whom he may devour.” 

The activity of Satan indicates that he only has limited access to God. This account in Job emphasizes that God is sovereign over Satan. It also teaches that Satan is a finite being and therefore not omnipresent (can’t be everywhere at the same time). Nor can he touch God’s servants without God’s permission.’ 

Oh glory to God my people! That means Satan has no direct say over us, he can only invade our souls and spirits if God gives him permission, or of we foolishly allow him to enter therein. That’s why Peter continues after our Bit. ‘Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in (experienced by) your brethren that are in the world.’ (1 Pet.5:9) 

Oh friends, I know it’s no great consolation to know that our brethren are experiencing the same temptation as us, but it just goes to show that we are not alone in being tempted, as Bruh Paul tells the Corinthians. ‘There hath no temptation taken (overtaken) you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ (1 Cor.10:13) 

Now friends, we have to be careful and understand that God will not always make us escape the temptation, but will often allow us to go through it, to build our faith, but will eventually bring us out safely on the other side. Remember too, that even Jesus was tempted by Lucifer during His earthly sojourn, but He successfully rebuked Him, and we ought to try and do likewise. 

James also warns us. ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God: Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7) Yes my fellow believers, if we keep resisting Lucifer, he will eventually flee from us; not that he won’t come back and try to tempt us later on, (smile) because he can be very persistent. 

However, we’ll end with these reassuring words of Peter. ‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm), strengthen, settle you. To him be the glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.’ (1 Pet.5:10-11)

What a blessed and faithful assurance my people. So let’s go out today strengthened in the Word of God, so that we can do His will. Much LOVE!

…the stronger our faith in Jesus…the more we are able to resist temptation…

 

 

 

 

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