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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 June 2017 Psalm 37:1.

Psalm 37:1.   Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

Ah mih people, it’s Friday and the ole fella doesn’t know what to write… Imagine that nuh! (smile) But I have no doubt that the Lord will lead me where He wants me to go eventually. 

Our world is in such a state of crisis that it doesn’t even make sense to talk about the wars and strife that are rife all over, neither the disasters, natural and man made that also abound. 

Steups! It does hurt one’s heart when one sees all the unnecessary nonsense that’s going on; the greed, the fight for power and personal aggrandizement, and the evil methods being used to accomplish those evil ends, especially when we can’t take any of it with us to our final resting place. 

Oh, I know we cannot, or will never live in a perfect world, but it certainly doesn’t have to be as warmongering and evil as it currently is. 

Such a beautiful world that God made for us to enjoy is going to waste as we rush headlong instead to foolishly destroy it …and in the aftermath, God’s greatest creation – mankind. Though sometimes I seriously wonder about that designation. 

So sometimes it’s heartwarming to hear the ordinary workingman not pay too much attention to the numerous ills of our world and simply and joyfully declare: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday…and the weekend is here at last. No more slave labour for a few measly pennies, and no evil slave master continually looking over yuh shoulder. 

Is we time now! Time to do exactly as we please… to party hearty, eat, drink and shake we bodyline to endless music! Thank God for Fridays and the weekends yes!’ 

Yes friends, that goes to the extreme, and we as Christians need to have boundaries, but it’s such a simple, refreshing reaction to our unfeeling way of life, where there is so much poverty, sickness, homelessness and joblessness. 

In fact, almost every week in this supposed enlightened, sophisticated and brilliant age, fewer and fewer people are able to sing the workingman’s song, because of constant job losses to technology or outsourcing to cheaper production locations. 

But everyday, we read about the rich getting richer. Oh, I know it’s in the Bible. But does it have to be so extreme, where one percent of the world controls ninety something percent of its wealth? Definitely not! 

Blessedly though, we Christians have the wonderful God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to turn to at all times, be they times of crisis or times of joy and prosperity! 

And on Fridays we declare our Friday Chant, loud and proud: ‘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.’ 

It’s short and simple too my brethren, but it does recognize the immense role that our heavenly Father plays in our lives, gives Him the thanks and praise that He so rightfully deserves. 

And isn’t it interesting and amusing that from not knowing what to write about at the beginning, I’ve written so much! Hn, hn! But that’s the way our great God moves; in rather mysterious ways sometimes. 

And finally we come to our Bit, which reassures and gives us confidence to keep keeping on in the way of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, regardless of how the world goes. ‘Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.’ 

Words to live by my brethren, although they are not always easy to put into effect. But listen to how Bruh David ends the psalm. ‘Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off (destroyed), thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay (native green) tree. 

Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect (blameless) man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. 

But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.’ (Ps.37:34-40) 

That says it all friends! If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then those words of faithful promise ought to lighten your worldly cares and have you singing for, and with joy, each and everyday of your life! Much LOVE!

…when we sincerely trust in Jesus…the burdens on our souls are truly lightened…