Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 October 2021 John 15:12.

John 15:12.     This is my commandment, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you.

Oh brother, when it rains, it does rain yes! All day yesterday, last night, and it’s still wet and drizzly now with no apparent let up in sight. But our God is a good God, and through His most wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, He allows, or rather, enables us to handle any negative aspects of the weather, or for that matter anything else that comes against us in this crazy and mixed-up world. All praise and glory be to the Most High God Jehovah, Creator and Controller of the universe and all therein! 

So what’s happening with us this rainy Tuesday eh my brethren? Are we putting God first and foremost in our lives like Jesus advised, when He said: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) And hopefully, if we are doing that, then we are also leaning wholeheartedly on this promise from Bruh Paul that ‘my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) And that He will too. 

But then, we come to the next important aspect of our Christian faith; the way we treat each other. Now that’s something I don’t believe we’re doing such a good job at, for there’s too much dissension, disunity, feuds and strife amongst the brethren, even amongst the same denominations and cliques. Whatever happened to this directive of Jesus eh? ‘This is my commandment, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you.’ (John 15:12) I don’t think you have to look very far to realize that that’s not a prominent aspect of our Christian fellowship. 

Yes friends, whatever happened to the Golden Rule, that so many of us were brought up to uphold? Jesus also decreed it: ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 7:12) Oh my people, that wasn’t something new Jesus was teaching, but it was the law and had been preached by the prophets since the beginning of time. 

And furthermore, it’s just simple common sense; you do to others what you want them to do to you! You can’t want to abuse and reject people, but then when the shoe falls on the other foot, you cry out for injustice and mercy! But that’s the way of our current world, for selfishness, anger, strife and injustice rule the roost. And yet we expect to live good, healthy and sane lives. 

Hn! Look at the world my fellow saints; it’s in a total uproar. Nobody’s happy about anything. Everybody has some kind of axe to grind; some injustice to be corrected, some right to be fulfilled, but in the meanwhile, we don’t care that we are causing injustice to others, and trampling on the God-given rights of others. No, we just want what we believe we are entitled to, and crapaud smoke the pipe of those who get in our way of achieving it! We couldn’t give a ‘darm’ about their interests or betterment! 

So where does that put us in respect to these words of John in his first epistle? ‘If a man say, I LOVE God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that LOVETH not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he LOVE God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who LOVETH God LOVE his brother also.’ (1 John 4:20-21) 

Now that’s a very good question! And in our current society we see that very thing playing out to a great extent. Even in many biological Christian families, there is serious hate churning amongst the members. The same with Christian congregations. So where is the LOVE and affection we spout about so much eh? And how do we expect others to come to Christ through our unchristian-like examples eh? 

Oh my fellow saints, please, please, let’s remember these telling words of Jesus. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt. 5:20) Yes friends, the scribes and Pharisees were considered the most religious and righteous people back then, but their righteousness was mostly an outward show of self-righteousness. And outward shows of righteousness profits no one anything! It’s what inside a body that really counts. 

That’s why the Lord looks at our hearts before He even listens to our words. And sadly, in these times when believers are supposed to be standing strong and steadfast and bearing much good fruit, too many of us are like the blooming scribes and Pharisees, only outward show! We talk a most excellent talk, but our walk leaves a lot to be desired. Oh my people, whatever happened to these heartfelt verses of scripture from Bruh Paul to the Ephesians? 

‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph. 4:29-32) We have either forgotten them, or simply chosen to ignore them, because today, when they are so badly needed, they are not being practiced by believers as much as they ought to. 

Oh friends, there are so many verses of scripture that deal with treating each other good, that I could go on for the whole day, and still not be done. It’s one of the most important topics in the Good Book; in fact it’s the second most important as Jesus pointed out when questioned by a pompous, arrogant Pharisee lawyer about the most important commandment. ‘Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:37-40) 

And just for our information friends, our neighbour is anyone with whom we come into contact! So why is there all this bad blood betwixt and between us eh? As believers in Christ Jesus, there is no justified reason for it. So please let’s move to cut it out nuh…asap… for if we don’t, when Jesus comes back, many who thought that we’d be herded to His right side with the sheep, will unfortunately find ourselves herded to the left with the goats. (Matt. 25:31-46) And friends, if you don’t know that scripture, then please read it as quickly as possible, because it is very important. It has to do with your earthly behaviour and where you will spend eternity on account of it. 

Now for those of us who are sincerely trying to live for Christ, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. Altogether now: ‘In God’s eyes, 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!’ 

Well then, let’s go out and do exactly that; share the LOVE and friendship of Christ with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do! Much LOVE!

…A friend LOVES at all times…and a brother is born for adversity… (Prov. 17:17)                                                                                                              

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8             

Today’s Scrip-Bit   25 October 2021 Deuteronomy 8:6.

Deuteronomy 8:6.     ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go before thee; he will not fail thee nor forsake thee.’ 

A good Monday morning to you my faithful friends and neighbours! Grace and peace from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to all those who sincerely trust and believe in Him. And since the breath of life continues to run through our bodies on this fateful Monday, it means that there is still important work for us to do down here in Christ’s name. Some of us know what that work is, and should faithfully put our shoulders to the wheel and do it without complaints, for He will greatly enable us to perform whatever He calls us to do. 

Meanwhile, for those of us who don’t know our particular purpose, it’s ever so important for us to seek it out with the Lord’s help, for one day we shall all come before Him to answer for what we’ve done with our lives. And I don’t believe that ignorance of our earthly purpose will be a satisfactory answer. (smile) Remember, heavenly rewards are based on the fruit of our earthly labour, and if we didn’t bear any good earthly fruit, how can we expect to reap heavenly rewards eh? 

And how do you find out your earthly purpose, you ask? Simple. Go to God and ask Him. Find a quiet place and some quiet time to spend with Him; read His word, think on it, and talk to Him like you’d talk to a friend, and He will answer your questions. Possibly not all at once, or in a loud voice, but quietly, in your spirit, you will eventually feel a nudging in a certain direction…or it might even be much more than a nudge, a direct command. 

But remember too, that after we pose our questions to God, like in every other conversation, we need to be quiet and listen for His response. And that’s where so many of us fail, and complain that God doesn’t speak to us. It’s obvious that if we don’t listen, we can’t hear Him speaking. However, with the impatience of our current society, we expect to receive the answer right away, but that isn’t how our God operates. Unless it’s a dire emergency, He expects us to be patient and contemplative, not rushing around aimlessly like so much of our world is doing. 

There’s no need to worry friends. If you ask God for directions, He will give them to you, just in His own time and fashion. Don’t worry about Him being late either. He knows what’s important and when and operates on the just in time principle. From personal experience, I know that’s an aggravating principle, but after the first few times, you’ll realize that God is faithful and will not let you down, He will arrive just in time. 

But that means putting your trust in Him, which means spending quality time with Him, getting to know Him as intimately as possible, because trust can only be built through intimacy and sincerity and time spent together. And that trust can’t be built overnight either. It will take time, as much or as little time as you choose to put into the relationship. Remember, our heavenly Father is always there, ready, willing and able to talk to us, and when He feels the need, He will open a conversation with us, but basically, it’s our responsibility to get the ball rolling. 

And in building trust, you must learn to rely wholeheartedly on His promises; promises like His grace is sufficient for us (2 Cor. 12:9); Temptation will not overtake us (1 Cor. 10:13); Victory over death (1 Cor. 15:57) To supply us with every need we have (Phil. 4:19) Eternal life. (John 3:16, 10:28) All things work together for good for those who love and serve Him faithfully (Rom. 8:28) 

But yuh know what my people? Sincere trust also calls for bravery and courage. And believers need them each and every moment of every day if they are to be faithful to God’s desires. They are not easy to come by in this evil and ungodly world either, but God in His everlasting wisdom has also made provision for that. Remember these words of Moses to the Israelites. ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go before thee; he will not fail thee nor forsake thee.’ (Deut. 8:6) 

And that’s gospel truth, for you see how He led the Israelites when He brought them out of bondage in Egypt. The Good Book tells us: ‘And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:’ (Ex. 13:21) But to acquire that bravery and courage, trust and surrender, here’s what the Lord said to Joshua, when He made him leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death. 

‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) And therein lies the secret to success in God’s kingdom; learn His Word and put it into action. 

That’s it in a nutshell friends. If you don’t know His Word then you can’t keep His commands. And to truly truly know it, you must also have good and frequent communication with the Lord so He can explain the parts you don’t understand. (smile) And communicating with God is called prayer, and there is never a better time for prayer than the moment you think of it. So, since it’s in our thoughts right now, I think it’s appropriate that we approach the Lord in prayer through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, laying out our problems and desires before Him. 

As one strong voice: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems.  

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. Please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again, we say: Amen!’ 

Now remember that God not only listens to our words but also checks our hearts to see if our motives are right and true, before He answers our prayers. Much LOVE!

…to truly live for the Lord…one must put a sincere effort into it…meaning blood, sweat and tears…like Jesus did…                                                                                                            

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                          

Today’s Scrip-Bit   24 October 2021 Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28.     Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Come on down my fellow believers in Christ Jesus, it’s time to get together and worship on this the Lord’s Day! And today we have a wonderful song to open our praise and thanksgiving session. It’s an old favourite titled ‘CRYING IN THE CHAPEL.’ The story goes that Artie Glenn wrote the song in 1951 for his son Darrell but left it in a drawer for two years, until Darrell recorded it while still in high school in 1953, along with Artie’s band the Rhythm Riders. After some rejection, it finally became a local hit and was then picked up by other artists. 

There have been numerous versions over the years, but my favourite has always been Elvis Presley’s, that is until yesterday when I was listening to some other versions and came upon one by the Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebo, simply known as Sissel. Her version blew me away with its simplicity and the uniqueness of her voice, as she is supposedly one of the world’s best sopranos. 

And it seems like I’m not the only person who’s been impressed by her version, for in the comments section of the video, Cliff Glenn, Artie Glenn’s oldest grandson writes: ‘Sissel.  I have never heard this beautiful lady sing Crying in the chapel till just now. Wow! my grandfather would have loved her version. My grandfather actually wrote this song in 1951, stuck it in a drawer for 2 years, until my dad, Darrell Glenn recorded it in 1953. I’ve heard an unbelievable amount of different versions in my life, including my own. but never one soooo beautiful, “sorry dad, and Elvis. is this lady single by any chance, lol!’ 

Unfortunately, she is not Cliff. (smile) And please don’t think that Sissel is a newcomer to music, although her version was recorded sometime in the 1990’s, since then she’s sold some 10 million albums of all kinds of music. And just one more accolade before we sing, this from another admirer. ‘Angelic. The sweet siren like sound I had only previously heard from Elvis’s back-up singer- Kathy Westmorland.’ (smile) 

So now that we know Sissel is easy on the eyes and can also sing, let’s do her version. Unlike Elvis’s soulful but dark version, hers is soulful but joy-filled and bright, like a sparkling spring morning, as opposed to a dark winter evening. Therefore, without further ado, let’s fill the fall morning air with sacrifices of praise to heaven. 

‘You saw me crying in the chapel The tears I shed were tears of joy I know the meaning of contentment Now I am happy with the Lord. Just a plain and simple chapel Where humble people go to pray I prayed the Lord that I’ll grow stronger As I live from day to day I searched (I searched) and I searched (I searched) but I couldn’t find No way on earth to gain peace of mind 

Now I’m happy in the chapel Where people are of one accord (One accord) Yes, we gather in the chapel Just to sing and praise the Lord You’ll search and you’ll search but you’ll never find No way on earth to gain peace of mind Take your troubles to the chapel Get down on your knees and pray Then your burdens will be lighter And you’ll surely find the way (and you’ll surely find the way)…yes, you’ll surely find the way.’ 

Yes friends, it’s short but sweet and soulful, touches you right down in the very depths of your being! And that’s because it’s oh so true. We can find peace, contentment and the lightening of our burdens in God’s house, in prayer, since that’s what He invites us to do. Please note Jesus’ Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) 

Oh my people, it could not get any better than that…but it does! (smile) Listen to Jesus again, as He offers even more incentive to accept His way of life, when He proclaims: ‘I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.’ (John 6:35) Yes, Jesus is the bread that gives life, spiritual and eternal life. You can’t get those from anywhere or anybody else, for He also lets us know with supreme confidence: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6) 

So what is left that Jesus can’t give, or doesn’t provide eh? And what about peace and comfort and good cheer you ask? Oh, He has all of that covered too. Hear these marvellous words of encouragement. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) And if you still desire more encouragement, then listen up as our Lord and Saviour gives it. ‘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) 

And indeed He has, by taking away the keys of hell from Satan, through His death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension to heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf. Wow, mih bredrin! What more can you ask eh? Nothing! 

But our Saviour Jesus is ever so generous that He offers us even more than that, as He faithfully promised the disciples, and consequently us. ‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. The Spirit of truth… I will not leave you comfortless (as orphans): I will come to you.’ (John 14:16-18) And that promise was fulfilled on Pentecost Day when the Comforter, the Holy Ghost fell upon, baptized all the believers in the upper room, and thereafter indwells ALL believers. (Acts 2:2-4) 

So you can see Jesus has all the bases covered. He’s left nothing to chance. It’s just for us now to accept His Invitation to come to the Father through Him, to receive salvation and eternal life. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity my people, so please, please, let’s not waste it nuh, for the only other option available is eternal separation from the Holy Trinity, and that’s the worst mistake we can ever make, for the wages of sin is death…eternal death! Much LOVE!

…and…lo…I am with you always…even unto the end of the world… (Matt. 28:20) 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                         

Today’s Scrip-Bit   23 October 2021 Mark 5:36.

Mark 5:36.     Be not afraid, only believe.

Saturday, oh Saturday, the day of leisure…and hopefully pleasure! Yes friends, it’s the big day called Saturday, where we party and play and do things we can’t do on workdays, including housework, laundry and grocery shopping. (smile) Yeh, some of us work harder on a Saturday than we do all week at our workplaces. But that’s all a part of our wonderful modern life. On Saturdays, we also turn to the quotes our friend Anselm sent us during the past week and see if we can make sense of them. So let’s get with that task nuh. 

And the first quote tells us: ‘Everyone visualizes whether he knows it or not. Visualizing is the great secret of success.’ And we all do visualize stuff, see it in our mind’s eye, see it the way we would like it to look in reality. But I don’t know if I will call it the secret of success, though it is an important aspect of being successful, because we can’t bring something to pass successfully unless we have some idea of how the project will look and operate. And that falls right into the lap of this next quote, which says: ‘To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe.’ 

That’s the gospel truth! Dreaming is a part of visualizing, of looking forward to what can be, or what you’d like to see come to pass or accomplish. And after you’ve dreamt about it, looked at it from all different angles, then you formulate a plan to make it a reality. But in all those stages, one thing is absolutely necessary for success, that’s belief that the project will be successful. You must believe it deep down in your heart and soul, else you will not put the necessary energy and effort, the plenty elbow crease, and constant starting over that some projects need to bring them to fruition. 

Belief, strong belief is vital in all we do! The problem though is often the source of our belief, whether it can actually do what it promises, or we believe it can. Note what Jesus said to Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, who came and pleaded for Him to come and heal his sick twelve-year-old daughter. On the way there, Jesus healed the woman with the blood issue who came through the throng and touched his clothing. (Mark 5:21-34) But while He was talking to the woman, Jairus’ people came and said that his daughter had died. However, as soon as Jesus heard it, He said to Jairus: ‘Be not afraid, only believe.’ (Mark 5:37) 

Now what did Jesus mean there eh? Basically, that Jairus was to believe that Jesus would and could do what He had promised, that is heal his daughter. And so it is with us, who claim to believe in Jesus. We must believe in the promises He’s made to give us a good future and a hope, of forgiveness of sins, leading to salvation and life eternal with Him in heaven. 

The problem with belief is that it must be based on something solid, like tying a rope to big, sturdy rock, or a ship to a big anchor. And the sturdiest, safest and surest thing in this world is Jesus! He’s shown how strong, sturdy and reliable He is by His death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension back to heaven, and His sending of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in His place. Wow! You couldn’t get any more reliable than that. 

Meanwhile, the next quote says: ‘Most people are thinking about what they don’t want, and they’re wondering why it shows up over and over again.’ And is that ever so true, for what we focus on is what we usually get. Cousin Sol said it long ago in Proverbs. ‘As a man thinks, so is he.’ (Prov, 23:7) That’s why, if we don’t want to reap negativity, then we need to stop concentrating on the negative aspects of life and instead concentrate on the positive ones, so that we can reap positive actions or results. 

And that segues right into the following quote. ‘Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.’ Words of heavenly wisdom my brethren! Especially in this society of plenty, where we all have so much stuff, stuff that we don’t use or can’t find, yet we still desire more. It’s a symptom of what we just spoke about; what you concentrate on is what will happen. If you keep thinking about more earthly stuff, then you will go out seeking it. With that kind of mindset you will never be satisfied with or appreciate what you already have. 

That recalls Jesus words from the Sermon on the Mount: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:33) Yes friends, the wise action is to seek God first; above everything else, and He will provide all that you need. Remember Bruh Paul’s words to the Philippians? ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) And He is a God who faithfully keeps His promises, as we can see from this last quote: ‘Stop waiting for somebody to elevate your game. You are already equipped with everything you need to manifest your own greatness.’ 

And if you are a believer in Christ Jesus, then that’s the indisputable truth! And you ask in a perplexed manner, what am I talking about? I’m talking about the fruit of the Holy Spirit my people; that’s LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness) meekness, temperance (self-control). (Gal. 5:22-23) Yes, it was all deposited in us when we received Christ, now it’s just left for us to water, prune and nourish those seeds so that they can grow and bear bountiful fruit, so that others can see and also believe. 

As Bruh Paul advises us, ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.’ And it’s not to work for salvation, because you can’t do that, since it’s a free gift of grace from God. (Eph. 2:8) The scholars explain it thus: ‘2:12. Work out your own salvation does not mean that you should work for salvation in order to obtain it. The Greek phrase “work out” denotes the expression, manifestation, or actualization of something one already possesses. The Philippians are to “work out” the salvation God has already wrought in them (vs. 13), carrying it to its logical conclusion. 

God has granted them salvation not just for their own profit, but for the good of others as well. If they work out and manifest the new life divinely worked in them, they will live lives worthy of the gospel (1:27), in harmony with each other (vs. 2), seeking the progress of the gospel. They will also regard one another as more important than themselves (vs.3), be concerned with the needs of their fellows (vs. 4),and make the appropriate sacrifices in obedience to God, as did Jesus, In doing all this they will work out or express the new life they have through Christ.’ 

And it’s the same thing we need to do my fellow saints in Christ, even more so in these desperate and dangerous times we are now living in. If we are to be true believers, then we need to raise the level of our faith and faithful action right now, obviously with God’s help! Much LOVE!

…if you don’t believe in Jesus…the King of Kings…Lord of Lords…the Prince of Peace… and the Son of Jehovah God…in whom then will you believe eh…                                                                                                      

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                        

Today’s Scrip-Bit   22 October 2021   1 Thessalonians 5:5.

1 Thessalonians 5:5.      Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 

And it’s an indecisive Friday morning; the sun seems to be fighting through the dark clouds. Who will be the winner is yet to be determined, (smile) but at least it’s dry so far. And as I like to remind us, the physical state of the day doesn’t really matter once we have the wonderful light of Jesus shining in and through us. For He is more than sufficient to meet all of our needs! Thank You Jesus! Yes friends, we desperately need to keep remembering that once Jesus is in our lives, that darkness is no longer a part of us. 

As Bruh Paul reminded the Thessalonians. ‘Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (self-controlled). For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and LOVE; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. 

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort (encourage) yourselves together (each other), and edify (build up) one another, even as also ye do (are doing).’ (1 Thess. 5:5-11) 

That’s a great and rather timely message my fellow believers, for in these dark, dangerous and evil times, filled with sickness, strife and all kinds of disaster and ungodly stuff, we need to heed it more than ever. Yes my people, we must wake up and embrace the light of Christ, bathe ourselves in it, otherwise the darkness will overtake us, and then we will be subject to the wrath of God. 

For the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night, and we should not allow ourselves to be found wanting whenever that happens. We need to be always prepared, for we are the children of light, and consequently not subject to the wrath of God. That’s why we need to be sober, keep close watch, ‘putting on the breastplate of faith and LOVE, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.’  

It’s very important in these crucial and critical times that we be ready, that we do like Bruh Paul advised the Ephesians. ‘Wherefore take unto you (put on) the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph. 6:13) And yuh better believe my fellow saints that this is indeed the evil day! For evil, ungodliness, strife and disaster are running rampant in our world like never before! 

And once we are clothed in the spiritual armour of God, then we need to stand up strong, because that’s the whole purpose of the armour; to enable us to stand up against the formidable foe that we face. As the scholars explain: ‘We must avail ourselves of God’s provision (that’s His spiritual armour) lest the enemy destroy our Christian witness and ministry. The evil day refers to the periodic demonic onslaughts and Satanic assaults. Having done all includes both dressing oneself in God’s armour and resisting Satan. Having done all these, be ready, for the devil will attack again and again.’ 

Of that you can be very certain my brethren! The devil is a very persistent foe, and will keep coming back whenever we best Him, like a bothersome insect or an itch that never goes away, despite how much you scratch it. (smile) Yuh see how he was persistent against Jesus, the same way he will be persistent after us, who have even less will-power than Jesus had. And please notice too the words of Luke after the temptation of Jesus. ‘And when the devil had ended all the temptation (testing), he departed from him for a season.’ (Luke 4:13) 

That means until another opportune time. It’s the same way he will come against us, time after time, so we always have to be prepared and ready to withstand the evil one. And we can only successfully resist the enemy when we are clothed in God’s armour; namely, having the truth of God’s word firmly girded around our waist, with the breastplate of righteousness safeguarding our chest, and on our feet, shoes made of the gospel of peace. 

The shield of faith to withstand the fiery arrows of the enemy is also important, then the helmet of salvation to protect our heads, and in our hands the mighty sword of the Spirit, that two-edged sword,  the Word of God, that is so powerful it can divide asunder soul and spirit. Wow, mih bredrin! Nothing the enemy has can stand against the spiritual forces of our God. 

However, there is one more very important aspect of our heavenly armour, that being, ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph. 6:18) Oh my people, prayer is ever so important in our daily walk. 

As the scholars tell us: ‘6:18. Prayer is grammatically linked to “stand” in verse 14. Without prayer God’s armour is inadequate to achieve victory. Prayer is indispensable. Always means “on every occasion” that is when Satan attacks. In the Spirit signifies that with the Spirit’s help such prayer for divine aid is to be made. Watching thereunto means “being vigilant in this very matter” of prayer. They are to pray not just for themselves but also for all saints; spiritual combat is both an individual and corporate matter.’ 

And since there’s never a better time to pray than at the very moment (smile) let’s do so nuh, let’s take our problems to God, through our Friday Chant. As one strong but humble voice. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now, we need to remember the promises we made…and keep them, if we want the Lord to keep His. Much LOVE!

…we can’t go into battle against the enemy…without God’s protective armour…                                                                                                         

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                       

Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 October 2021 John 14:16.

John 14:16.     And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide in you for ever. 

Another good-looking autumn day in my area! It’s so good when we wake up and see the sun shining along with the spiritual light that we get from Jesus. That just gives us a full house! (smile) So let’s hope that your house is also filled with light this Wednesday morning in the latter part of October, in this crazy year of 2021. And even if you don’t have physical sunlight, just remember that the light from Jesus is more than enough to quell all our darkness, all our fears and anxieties. 

And if you don’t believe me, then listen to this overwhelming story from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, which I believe proves our point. It is titled ‘It Happened to Me.’ Please read with me: ‘It may be a question you’d rather not face. You’ve struggled with it for so long. A resentment perhaps, or a seething rebellion…or an ugly jealousy that keeps churning. There may be someone you haven’t forgiven, despite a whole string of resolutions. Day after day, in fact week after week, you live with no sense of fulfillment, no recharge of joy, no happy expectations. You long for a deeper understanding of God’s will for your life. 

Your heart feels empty, your soul feels weary. Do you wonder if there is a way out? If other Christians have found the secret? Oh yes! Assuredly YES! Let me tell you when! When they were desperate enough to trust the Holy Spirit to do what they could not do. When they were simple enough to trust God’s promise. “I will put my Spirit within you.” When they were willing enough to open their hearts and give it all over to God. Do you wonder why I am so joyfully sure? It happened to me!’ 

Oh friends, what a true and wonderful story! And I hope it soon happens to you if you are suffering from any of the frustrations and human limitations listed above. I can understand, because it also happened to me. But it’s oh so true that when you give it all up to the Holy Spirt, which is in you, if you are a Christian, then the load, whatever it is becomes bearable, because you don’t have to carry it all by yourself. 

Remember, the Lord promised this way back in the Old Testament to the children of Israel through the prophet Ezekiel, saying: ‘A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh (take out your stony heart of sin, and give you a new, obedient heart). (Ezek. 36:26) 

And we know that the Lord keeps ALL of His promises, and after Jesus came, He kept that one. We know that on the first Pentecost day after Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers seated in the upper room in Jerusalem. The Good Book describes it thus: ‘And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven (divided) tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ (Acts 2:2-4) 

The scholars explain: 2:2-3. On the Day of Pentecost God provided two symbols of the Spirit’s presence, the wind, which was associated by the Jews with the Spirit (Ezek. 37:9-14; John 3:8) , and the fiery tongues which divided and rested upon each one, showing that the Spirit’s baptism included ALL. The purpose here for the sign gift of tongues was not to make possible the hearing of the gospel but to seize the attention of all, so they would listen.’ And from that time forth, all those who believe and place their trust in Christ Jesus are imbued with the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and comfort them. 

Yes friends, those are some of the things the Holy Spirit of Christ is supposed to do in our lives, but as with everything else, we do have to LISTEN to Him, if we are to receive the benefits He has to offer. And that’s where so many believers fall down. We either don’t listen to the Spirit’s guidance, or we hear it and don’t follow it, then wonder why our lives are so miserable and muddled. 

Let’s remember some of Jesus words re the Holy Spirit nuh. First, He promised it. ‘If you LOVE me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide in you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive , because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him:  but ye know him; for he dwelleth in you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless (as orphans): I will come to you.’ (John 14:15-18) 

Yes my brethren, the Holy Spirit is another comforter, just like Jesus is and was. And unlike the Old Testament, where the Spirit occasionally fell on believers, after Jesus, He indwells ALL believers. He is a constant companion. That’s the Spirit of Jesus in us working on our behalf. And hear Jesus again on the Holy Spirit. ‘But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.’ (John 15:26-27) 

And this note from the scholars follow those verses. ‘15:26-27. The Comforter refers to the Advocate beside us as we bear witness to Christ (cf. 14:15-16) (which we spoke of earlier). The action of the word translated “proceedeth” is “in the process” – “continually proceeds.” The eternal procession of the Spirit means that He continually proceeds from beside, not out of the Father. If the Holy Spirit came out God, He would be less than God. To be more specific, the Holy Spirit not only proceeds from the Father, but also from the Son. 

This means the Father and the Son continually send the Holy Spirit. This in no way suggests the Spirit is less in deity than are the Father or Son. Instead it explains the relationship among the three eternal persons of the Trinity. Illustration: Just as Jesus came to do the will of the Father, so the Holy Spirit is sent to speak not of Himself, but of Christ (cf. 16:13) Application: In this sense the Holy Spirit is the Promise of the Father who has been given to every Christian (Acts 1:4: 2:39).’ 

In plain and simple everyday language, I like to say that the Holy Spirit is the work horse of the Holy Trinity! (smile) He actions the promises and intents of the Father and the Son. So friends, it’s ever important that we consider the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, if we claim to be believers in Christ Jesus. You can’t be a true believer without engaging with Him. So hopefully from now on, since we have a better understanding of what He’s all about, we will embrace Him more faithfully and consistently. 

Now, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our most wonderful position in Jesus Christ. Altogether 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!’ 

And let’s not forget, that if we endure to the very end, that future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine. Much LOVE!

…to live a full Christian life…one must engage wholeheartedly and faithfully with the Holy Spirit… 

P.S. Sorry the Bit’s so late, but you know…life happens. (smile) Much LOVE!                                                                                                       

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                        

Today’s Scrip-Bit   19 October 2021 John 14:6.

John 14:6.     I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

And then it was Tuesday; another bright sunshiny, though somewhat chilly day in my area. But who cares what the physical day looks like eh, when we’ve got our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to brighten it up in all circumstances eh? Ah mih people, I do hope that we are realizing just how important Jesus is to us, especially in these dangerous and unprecedented times, for without Him, we don’t stand a chance of defeating the numerous problems that are currently facing us. 

He is the ONLY One who can bring us some sort of peace and comfort within the depths of the storm! He is the ONLY One who can help us to carry the back-breaking burdens so many of us bear! And He is the ONLY One who can offer us the free and marvellous gift of salvation, of resurrection from the dead and a glorious life with Him in heaven when our feeble and fragile earthly body returns to the dust from whence it originally came! So, bearing in mind all of that, how important is He to you eh? I hope your immediate and most emphatic answer is ‘Mucho, Mucho Importante!’ (smile) 

And if you claim to be one of His followers and He isn’t very important, or rather of the utmost importance in your life, then something is seriously wrong with your belief system. Please remember this conversation that Jesus had with the disciples. He told them: ‘And whither I go ye know (talking about His return to heaven), and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:4-6) 

And don’t forget this other attribute, when He said to the disbelieving Pharisees: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) Therefore friends, if Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life and the Light, how can anything or anybody be more important than Him in our lives eh? No way! Not if we are His sincere followers. 

Now let’s look at a few scriptures that certify that Jesus was indeed all those things He claimed, beginning with the Way. Before He came sins were paid for with animal sacrifices, and the high priest entered the holiest of holies once a year to offer prayers for himself and the people. But after Jesus was crucified and the veil was torn down that separated the holiest of the holies from the other parts of the temple, Jesus became the Way, the sacrifice, once and for ALL time for ALL sin! 

No more sacrificing of animals for forgiveness, or the high priest going into the holiest of holies once a year. Forgiveness and salvation were now accomplished through Christ! As Hebrews tells us: ‘Having therefore brethren, boldness (confidence) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.’ (Heb. 10:19-20) Yes friends, Jesus is indeed ‘the new and living way by which believers have direct access into the very Holy Place of God.’ With Jesus seated at God’s right hand, we don’t need anybody else to intercede for us. We can personally go in His blessed name. 

And as per the Truth, John tells us in no uncertain terms. ‘And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth… For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.’ (John 1: 14, 17) Yuh see that people, grace and truth only came with Jesus. before that there was only the law, which was abused by man for their own evil and selfish purposes. But grace and truth could not be used thus. 

And Jesus Himself claimed truth came from Him. Listen as he speaks to the Jews who believed on Him. ‘If ye continue (abide) in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ (John 8:31-32) Oh people of God, only if we abide in the Word of Jesus can we ever know the truth, and nothing but the truth, for He is the truth, and if you don’t know Him, you won’t know truth! It’s not complicated at all. (smile) 

And furthermore, hear Jesus as He talks to Pilate. ‘Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest (rightly) that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.’ (John 18:37) That means, if you don’t know Jesus and hear His voice, then you don’t know the truth! 

And per the Life, listen to Jesus talk to Martha before He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead. ‘Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead (may die), yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ (John 11:23-26) 

And as the scholars explain: ‘11:25. I am the resurrection is one of Jesus’ greatest “I am” statements, signifying His power to give eternal life.’ Consequently friends, if you’re seeking eternal life, then you must go through Jesus, for that’s the only way to get it! (smile) 

And if you want to dispute about ‘no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,’ then listen to these pertinent and most decisive scriptures. This one from Bruh Paul’s first letter to Timothy. ‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.’ (1 Tim. 2:5-6) Jesus died at the right time, giving proof that God wanted all men to be saved. 

Now listen to Jesus as He spoke the parable about being the Good Shepherd and the people not understanding Him. (John 10:1-6) ‘Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for (except) to steal and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:7-11) 

And that’s exactly what Christ did friends; He gave His life, as the Good Shepherd for us sinful sheep! And if we don’t appreciate it and consequently live for Him, then we’re only fooling ourselves and headed down the path of destruction and eternal separation from God. There’s no more that I can say to convince you of Jesus’ utmost importance in your life. 

However, for those of us who do believe and are trying to live a suitable life, then let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. As one strong voice: ‘In God’s eyes, 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!’ 

That means we must now go out and share the LOVE and friendship of Jesus with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do, because He is ever so essential in everyone’s life! Much LOVE!

…to put it simply…without Jesus…we are nothing…                                                                                                      

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                       

Today’s Scrip-Bit   18 October 2021 Philippians 4:11.

Philippians 4:11.     Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

And since the universe unfurls exactly as its Creator programmed it to do, today is Monday! That’s what the printout says, and there is nothing we can do to change it, so we might as well just accept it and say, ‘the Lord be praised!’ (smile) Yes friends, we don’t have much, if any say in how the world turns, which means we had better learn to accept and be contented in whatever state we are in, allowing the Holy Spirit of Jesus to lead and guide us, knowing that in the end we will be well looked after by our heavenly Father, who has promised to work all things out for our good. 

And as Tim Sullivan says in the opening remarks of his sermon of how to abound and how to be abased, on the workerstogetherwithhim.org website. ‘To everything there is a season. Some seasons are of ease and others are of struggle. Life certainly has its ups and downs. But God desires that we know true contentment in all seasons, regardless of the circumstances that surround us.’ 

Now all of that is gospel truth, as Cousin Sol articulates as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes: ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.’ (Eccl. 3:1) And the Lord expects believers to handle whatever comes against them in any and every season with zeal and panache, with style and flair. (smile) And it’s great if we can handle the ups and downs of life with equanimity, that’s a calm and composed manner, especially in the difficult times. It’s not an easy thing to do though. 

That brings us to the encouraging words of Bruh Paul in his epistle to the church at Philippi, when talking about his appreciation of their gift. ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.’ (Phil. 4:11) And therein lies the Christian’s problem: being content does not come as naturally to us, as complaining does. (smile) We have to learn how to be content. And that takes a lot of learning in a lot of difficult situations. 

Hear the scholars’ explanation on that verse. ‘4:11. Not that I speak in respect (because) of want: Paul’s ability to be content despite the circumstances assures the readers that his joy of verse 10 is not solely over his “need” being met at their expense. He implies that he could have done without their financial aid. For justifies this implication. I have learned …to be content: The Greek here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.’ 

Yuh better believe that friends, you can’t learn contentment in any classroom or in a short period of time. It’s only learned by going through the many hard knocks of life. As Bruh Paul continues: ‘I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.’ (Phil. 4:12) 

And the scholars tell us: ‘4:12. By listing some specific examples, this verse elaborates upon the very general and broad “in whatsoever state I am” of verse 11. Be abased means literally to discipline oneself, that is tighten the belt in lean times. To abound means to live in prosperity. Every where and in all things I am instructed (or “in all circumstances I have learned the secret of how”) to be full, that is “well-fed.” Paul has acquired the skill for successfully living with little and with much, the latter probably being harder.’ 

And to back up that statement, they quote the British Philosopher Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) ‘For one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.’ And surprisingly that is very true. There are many who will withstand adversity better than prosperity. But here is the kicker, the engine power that makes the whole situation work. Bruh Paul’s proclamation: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Phil 4:13) All power and glory be to God, my fellow saints! 

Yes friends, that’s how we can abound and be abased and not lose hope and faith and trust in Almighty God! Now listen to the scholars: 4:13. The apostle’s ability of knowing how to live skillfully on little or in prosperity does not mean that he is a spiritual superman. The reason he can live in such extremes is not owing to his own ability. Rather he can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth him, thus enabling him to adapt to his various, ever-changing circumstances. God orders Paul’s various circumstances, and God gives him the strength to be content in them all, trying and perplexing though they may be.’ 

And that’s exactly what He does for every one of His children! God orders our steps, and He also gives us the wherewithal to handle them. That’s the kind of God He is, a fair, just, righteous and LOVING God! And the sooner we understand and appreciate that fact, the sooner we will make inroads into living the contented life. Now, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, let’s seek His omnipotent help with the many problems we are currently experiencing. 

As one voice: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems. 

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. Please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again, we say: Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and keep those promises we just made, so that the Lord can bless us and our land. Much LOVE!

…you can’t strong in ALL circumstances…unless the power of Christ is within you…                                                                                                             

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                      

Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 October 2021 Romans 8:35a.

Romans 8:35a.     Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? 

A good Sunday morning to you my fellow believers in Christ Jesus! And am I ever so glad that you joined me for some praise, worship and thanksgiving on this the Lord’s Day. Now that is a must, as the Lord decreed to the Israelites when He handed down the Ten Commandments to them. Prominent amongst the directives was this: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) And that’s what we are endeavouring to do this Sabbath Day. 

And as always, let’s begin with a song, a song of praise. Today’s song is a Contemporary Christian number ‘Give Me Jesus’ written by Fernando Ortega, but his version is too slow, (smile) whereas the live, more up-tempo version by Danny Gokey suits our purposes admirably. So let’s sing that song which shows how desperately we need Jesus, that it has us crying out to heaven for Him. And we better had be sincere, because He’s not only going to listen to our pleas and praise, but also check our hearts to see if what we’re singing is really true. 

Therefore, in soulful harmony, let sacrificial praise flow from our hearts and mouths …and don’t forget the sweet background vocals from the choir, and the majestic sound of the orchestra, for those are what raise the song to a higher level. (smile) ‘Ohhh ohhh, Give me Jesus… In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise Give me Jesus. (Chorus: Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus.) When I am alone, Oh When I am alone, When I am alone, Give me Jesus. (Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. For He is all that I need. Just give me Jesus) 

When I come to die, Oh, When I come to die, When I come to die, Give me Jesus. (Ohhhh Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. Oh it’s all I need, all I need is Jesus. So Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, You can have all this world, You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus, He’s all I need. He’s all I need. 

Give me Jesus…in the morning when I rise…when I lay my head down… when I wake up, when I lay my head down, said I need him, said I need you… said I only want Jesus…when I wake up… Just give me Jesus. All I need is him. We worship you, we worship you, say we worship you Lord. You’re the answer to my prayers, you’re the calm in the storm, you’re my rest and my refuge…oh yeahhh… Just give me Jesus…’ 

Ah mih people, that was beautiful…and made even more so when the heavenly host joined us in offering sacrificial praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wow! What a magnificent person He is, when we call for Him in any and every situation. When we rise up, when we lie down, when we are alone, when we die… The only name we’re calling out is Jesus! 

Bruh Paul learned that lesson the hard way when Jesus accosted him on the road to Damascus to persecute the believers. He tells the story thus: ‘And it came to pass, that as I made my journey, and was come nigh (near) unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest.’ (Acts 22:6-8) 

And we all know how he was blinded by the light of Jesus and had to be led to Damascus where the Lord commanded one Ananias, a devout believer to go and heal his blindness. And despite the Lord’s command, even Ananias was afraid to go and confront Saul, such was his reputation for persecuting the brethren. But he perked up his courage and went and confronted him and returned his sight. And it’s interesting to hear some of the words that Ananias said to him. ‘And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.’ (Acts 22: 14-15) 

Two thousand years later, we are still relating that story, as Ananias promised. Bruh Paul also turned out to be a mighty witness for Christ, journeying all over the known world with the single-minded purpose of spreading the gospel, which seems to have been burned or branded into his psyche, into his soul and spirit. You can’t consider anything else when he says stuff like: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ (Rom. 1:16) 

And later on in the letter to the church at Rome, he confidently proclaims: ‘Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life; nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, not things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Rom. 8:35, 38-39) 

Can you imagine all that from a man who encouraged the demise of Christians, even supposedly stood by and watched them being killed? And he eventually became so engrossed in Christ that he considered all his earlier accomplishments of no account. ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:7-8, 10) 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul was very much into Christ. His zeal for Christ was amazing, more flaming that any of the other apostles. The scholars offer this explanation. ‘3:10. This verse may also be paraphrased: “In order that I may personally know Him, that I might both experience His resurrection power and share in His sufferings, and thus I will be more conformed to His death.” Paul wants “the righteousness…of God (vs.9) so that he can obtain a personal relationship with Jesus in actual day to day experiences. This knowledge of Christ is obtained by experiencing in daily problems, needs, ministry, and so forth, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. 

Knowing Christ also entails participating in His sufferings. Paul desires to share in the Lord’s sufferings because they bring him into a deeper and more meaningful relation with Him: companionship in sorrow establishes the most intimate and lasting of ties, as afflicted hearts cling to each other. The result of participating in Christ’s sufferings is that Paul is being made like Him in death. The word “death” has a double meaning here, including inward and outward, ethical and physical death. As Jesus died in regard to sin on the cross, so Paul is doing more and more in his daily life. As Jesus was bodily slain, so the apostle, should Caesar’s verdict go against him, is prepared to be slain.’ 

Awright, that was long, but I thought it necessary for us to get a better understanding of the scripture and Bruh Paul’s desires. Now we don’t need to become that zealous, though we must remember that suffering is a part of the Christian’s lot. But we do need to heed what he says later on: ‘this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) 

Oh my fellow saints, we do need to put all our past glory and credentials aside and move forward to new ground, that of knowing Christ deeper with each passing day, so when we get to heaven, we will be greeted by Jesus with ‘Well done, oh thou good and faithful servant!’ Much LOVE!

…you can’t really know and appreciate Christ…without undergoing some pain and suffering…                                                                                                                 

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