Today’s Scrip-Bit   31 January 2022   1 Corinthians 15:57.

1 Corinthians 15:57.     But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Awright friends, are we ready for Monday, the bad dragon day of the week? Of course we are! We fellowshipped with other believers yesterday and received renewed blessings from our great God, enabling us to go out today and fight His battles in this evil and ungodly world. And let’s remember that God’s grace is ALWAYS sufficient to do whatever He desires us to do. He will NEVER give us less than we need. So please don’t allow any fear or dread to infect our souls and spirits as we head out to do God’s bidding today. For we know that He hasn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, LOVE and a sound or disciplined mine (2 Tim. 1:7). 

And on top of that, Bruh Paul has also reinforced that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Phil. 4:13) That means we have all the tools we need to face the enemy and his evil minions. That’s why this Monday morning should be a cakewalk for believers who set out to do battle in Jesus’ name. (smile) Oh, I know that it won’t be as simple and easy, but with our endurance and perseverance we will eventually win the day. 

And here in our Province of Ontario, I believe that some of the Covid-19 restrictions and regulations will be toned down today. So that’s one less matter to be anxious about. Now we must still be careful and concerned about it, because it’s not going away anytime soon, but we will have a little more leeway to operate, a little more freedom to live, as the restrictions will not be as onerous as they were before. 

That though can be a major problem, as freedom is not an easy thing for many of us to navigate, for freedom requires a sense of responsibility, a sense of thinking about and considering others, which is not a currently paramount attitude in our society. Right now, it’s all more about self and selfishness. But that’s a story for another day. (smile) 

Let me apologize right here for the Bit being so late though. It seems like the last few Mondays have all been bad dragon days for me, stuff happening, either with the snow, car or household problems that have caused me to relegate the Bit to a much later hour than I desired. And today was no different. But I’ve finally put all that stuff behind me and can turn my full attention to the Bit. And as I said earlier on, dealing with Monday and its problems is not always easy, but God always gives us the wherewithal to overcome them. And I did have success in my undertakings, but it took a lot of that other commodity that we don’t have so much of, that’s time. 

But then, when you’ve successfully completed those time sensitive tasks, you find yourself too tired, mentally, physically and emotionally to properly handle the other stuff that you had to postpone. And that’s what’s been happening to me. So today, I believe we should look at a few scripture verses that deal with victory in the Christian’s life. 

And I like how this article on the subject on the website PaulEChapman.com begins. It says: ‘The Bible can encourage your heart and empower your life. What verses inspire you to overcome challenges and triumph over the world? …Our God is victorious. He ALWAYS WINS. He has never lost a battle. He has no equal to challenge His sovereignty. Although we know this truth by the fact of history and the choice of faith, our experience in this life can make it seem like we are losing at times. 

Our limited perspective can create doubt and discouragement. Allow me to encourage you in the Lord. If you are born again, you are on the winning side! God has revealed the last chapter of history. There is no doubt of how the future will end. God and His people are victorious! Even when the people of the Lord are led as sheep to the slaughter, they find victory in death. God has transformed man’s greatest enemy into the doorway to eternal bliss. Marvel at the awesomeness of our God!’  

Yes friends, that’s such a wonderful, encouraging and reassuring thing to do, because it builds up our faith in our heavenly Father and keeps us willing and able to do His earthly work even in the most difficult of times and circumstances. But enough talk, (smile) let’s check out those scriptures on success. And I believe these immortal words of Bruh Paul to the church at Corinth ought to be first. 

‘So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain (futile) in the Lord.’ (1 Cor. 15:54-58) 

And that’s exactly how we’ve gained victory, through Christ Jesus, and how we keep it, by being steadfast and strong! Now listen to John from his first epistle. ‘For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?’ (1 John 5:4-5) 

And the scholars explain: ‘5.5. There is conquering power through this confession because God is sovereign over the world, and only through the Son does man have access to and find favour with God.’ And that’s the indisputable truth my brethren, only when we are born again, trust Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, that we have access to the Father and all the victory that He radiates! 

And there’s no better way to end these scriptures on victory than with these marvellous words, this eternal promise of Jesus, where He tells us, in no uncertain terms that victory is ours. ‘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) What wonderful news my fellow saints. Please, let’s try and keep that first and foremost in our hearts souls and minds as we journey with God this day and every day nuh. 

Now, let’s go to Him in prayer, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, asking for His omnipotent help in solving our many serious problems. As one, strong, sincere, confident, but humble 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 please remember that our answers all depend on our behaviour. Much LOVE!

…He will swallow up death forever in victory…the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces… (Is. 25:8a)  

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   30 January 2022   2 Corinthians 12:10b.

2 Corinthians 12:10b.     …for when I am weak, then I am strong.

It’s the Lord’s Day friends – Sunday…with bright sunshine too! (smile) That means it’s time to gather for worship, to give thanks and praise and receive rejuvenation and encouragement for next week’s duties. And the days are not getting any easier, especially since we now have a new variant of the Omicron variant in the pandemic business. But, with God’s help and our wise and responsible behaviour, we will fight this virus right down to the end and come out victorious! 

That’s our God’s promise, if we revere and stay close to Him. That’s why today’s song of praise is ever so important. You can tell that just from its title: ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee.’ Oh friends, in these dark and dangerous times it’s ever so necessary to get as close to God as possible, because it’s only through Him that we can ever hope to be righteous conquerors. 

‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’ is a traditional gospel song, that most likely dates from way back when the African Americans were suffering significant adversity in the Southern States of the U.S.A. It’s been performed and recorded by numerous artists, and the fact that it’s stood the test of time, and is still very appropriate in our current adversity, says a great deal about its spiritual strength and reassurance. 

So let’s sing a rich, up-tempo gospel version, with plenty background vocals, clapping and riddim instruments, like they possibly did down in those Southern African American churches, when times were really rough, and Jesus was the ONLY positive option they had. 

Therefore, with that same assurance, let’s raise our voices in sweet and sincere sacrificial praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. ‘I am weak but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee. (Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.) Thro’ this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee. 

[Refrain]When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore. (Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be…One more time my people… Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be…’ 

Now let’s hope that we were truly sincere in our praise, because, as I said earlier, we desperately need to walk with Jesus in these calamitous times, if we want to not only survive them, but even more importantly thrive in them. Yes, my brethren, Jesus can cause us to thrive even in the midst of serious adversity. But we have to come alongside Him in total faith and surrender ourselves completely to His will. 

And on a point of interest, the website, Hymary.org informs us that, ‘In this song we acknowledge our human inability to live righteously, but we also express awareness of the grace and strength that God gives us in our daily walk. Even such an esteemed saint as the apostle Paul acknowledged his need for this grace:’ 

And when was that you ask? When he asked the Lord three times to remove the thorn from his side. ‘And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (weaknesses), that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Cor. 12:8-10) 

Ah my fellow believers, the same thing applies to us; when we think we are weak, because we cannot do something in our own strength, that’s when we are really strong because the grace and power of God will step in in our weakness and anoint us to do His will. Glory be! 

There’s also this most applicable verse: ‘And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect (blameless).’ (Gen. 17:1) So friends, if the father of our faith was required to walk with the Lord, it’s obvious that we are also required to do the same, and in all seriousness too. 

Then we are told that the title and lyrics of today’s song, ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee,’ allude to the famous passage from 2 Corinthians 5:7, which reads: ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’ And that’s the gospel truth! Christians walk by faith, by what they see and believe in their hearts, not what they see with their eyes. 

And Bruh Paul specified this more clearly when he said to the church at Rome. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) wait for it.’ (Rom. 8:24-25) More indisputable truth my fellow saints! And the title and lyrics of our song, also allude to this critical passage from James. ‘Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you…’ (James 4:8a). 

Now that was nothing new, for long before that, there was this warning from the prophet Azariah: ‘And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him: and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.’ (2 Chr. 15:1-2) 

Oh my people, that’s the same message that’s been sent to us today, loud and clear! If we seek God, we will find Him. But if we don’t, He won’t bother with us, either and allow us to go our own foolish way, like we’re currently doing. I don’t know what it will take for us to wake up and realize that He is our only hope. But I sincerely hope and pray, that for our sake, and that of our children…and their children, that we wake up soon and sincerely seek Him, before it all falls apart! 

So please, let’s go to God nuh, as we’ve been so wisely advised, walk with Him and cling to Him as closely as possible, because in Him lies all of our hope for a better tomorrow, as well as today! Much LOVE!

…clinging to our Creator for dear life…doesn’t require much wisdom…just basic common sense…   

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   29 January 2022 Luke 14:11.

Luke 14:11.     For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased (humbled); and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Another bright, sunshiny and cold winter’s day – only about minus 20C. (smile) And with Jesus in our souls, spirits and bodies, we’re laughing all the way to heaven this Saturday morning my fellow believers! Yes, friends, there’s a certain something about being alive and having Jesus as Lord and Saviour that just brings out the best in you, have you shouting, ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ and giving thanks to Almighty God for such a wondrous life! No, I’m not off my rocker, just excited about doing life with Jesus…and so should all supposed believers be excited about the amazing life possibilities that lie within Christ’s plans for us. 

But it’s Saturday, that lazy day, so let’s turn to what we do on Saturdays, check out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first quote’s a dilly. It says: ‘You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.’ 

And that has a lot of truth to it. You can often tell a lot about someone’s character by the way they treat someone who is supposedly lower down the social, economic or spiritual scale than them, people whom they feel can’t help them in achieving their life’s goals. A lot of us condescend to those whom we think are less than us in some way or other. 

But that’s not Jesus’ way. His is the humble way, as He teaches in the gospel of Luke about where to sit and whom to invite to your feasts. Choose the lowest seat in the house, so that you can be honoured by the host when he calls you up to a higher table. ‘For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased (humbled); and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’ (Luke 14:8-11) 

And furthermore, ‘When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again (invite you back), and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed (crippled), the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense (repay) thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.’ (Luke 14:12-14) 

Oh my people, Jesus isn’t saying to refuse hospitality to our friends and families, but just reminding us that we should do good to both the LOVABLE and the UNLOVABLE! And we must maintain ties to the latter group if we want them to come to know and LOVE Him like we do. Remember one of the things the Pharisees held against Jesus was His associating with what they called sinners. But how can we reach them if we don’t associate in some form and fashion with them eh? The important thing is for us to change them, and not allow them to change us. 

Now the next quote is exactly what Christianity is all about. ‘Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.’ That’s the gospel truth my brethren! We can only learn of, about and from Jesus by taking a positive step of faith, for He does not reveal everything to us all at once. And that’s how we grow, how we mature in our faith. For with each step of faith we take, and we see Jesus’ awesome response, then we are emboldened and reassured to take the next one. 

No one is born with strong faith; strong faith is gained by personal living experience, one step at a time. And yes, sometimes we take a step and fail, or realize that we’ve made a mistake, but that’s never the answer or the end. We need to get back up and take another step, possibly in a different direction, just talk to Jesus about it. We learn through making mistakes, but the important thing is to NEVER stop taking steps of faith in Christ! 

Remember one of Jesus famous admonishments was to query people’s faith, most of the time about how weak it was. As He said to the disciples in the midst of the storm. ‘Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith.’ (Matt. 8:26) Meanwhile, to the woman with the issue of blood, who pushed her way through the crowd to touch the hem of His garment, believing, having faith that that simple action would heal her. Jesus said: ‘Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be made whole of thy plague (affliction).’ (Mark 5:34) So, faith is basically a continuum, and with each step we take, we move along it a little at a time, and our faith grows the same way. 

Now the next quote says: ‘ We all have limits. Almost no one reaches theirs. You definitely haven’t.’ That’s very true friends. We all have limits to what we can do or achieve, but very few of us, for one reason or another, ever reach that limit. Sometimes it’s because we don’t strive hard enough, or we strive through the enemy rather than through Christ Jesus, or we just don’t have enough time on this earth to reach it. But regardless of what tries to hold us back, we ought to be striving to reach those limits, because God put them in us so that we can work towards them for His glory. 

And God’s limits are set high for His people because He desires them to be the best of the best! Remember what Jesus said: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…’ (Matt. 16:33) That’s the ONLY way we can ever rise anywhere close to the limits God has set for us! 

And this last quote is also an interesting one. I heard it many years ago, but never understood it until I took a moment to think it through. It says: ‘If you want to know how much you’ll be missed when you’re gone, put your finger in a bucket of water and then remove it. The hole that’s left will be how much you are missed.’ Yes, once you remove your hand, the hole will close right back up again. (smile) 

Now that’s probably not quite true of your friends and family, but it’s oh so true in the big outlook on things. For most of us are considered small fish in a big pond, and when the Grim Reaper comes a-calling, very few but our closest associates even know that we’re no longer here. But that doesn’t matter so much, once Jesus knows who we are, and that we’ve gone to be with Him. And once that’s true, nothing else really matters! 

So please, let’s concentrate on doing all we can to end up with Jesus nuh! Much LOVE!

…to truly learn about Jesus…takes time and effort…  

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   28 January 2022   1 Thessalonians 5:16.

1 Thessalonians 5:16.     Rejoice evermore.

Ah my Scrip-Bit friends and family, this Friday morning has opened beautifully, like a true winter wonderland, with the sun shining so brightly that its reflection off the snow tends to blind you, if you look at it too closely! (smile) And the temperature is just right for such a day too, around minus 16 Celsius. No, I’m not crazy, a certain kind of day deserves a certain temperature. And then we have Jesus abounding in our souls, spirits and bodies, so what more can we ask eh? Nothing! 

So let’s say it like we mean it nuh: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it! Oh yes my people, every day is made for rejoicing, but some like this one, just takes your breath away, and you can’t do anything else but rejoice; rejoice and give thanks! And that just recalls these marvellous passages of scripture, featuring Bruh Paul’s immortal words to the Thessalonians, where he encourages them to: 

‘ Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance (every form) of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it.’ (1 Thess. 5:16-24) 

Wow friends! That’s one of those bits of scripture, that sort of includes everything a believer needs to live a good Christian life! And the nice thing about it is that it’s simple and straightforward, as well as practical. So, I would suggest we use it as a guideline for our daily lives, where we rejoice that we are alive and have Jesus who reconciles us to God and offers us the most wonderful gift of salvation for simply believing in Him. 

And to help us with all our daily problems we just keep talking to God about everything, not necessarily continuously or audibly, but having an attitude of prayer throughout our day. And for all of that my fellow saints, giving thanks to our wonderful God in any and everything is paramount, because that’s what He expects of us. As the scholars explain: ‘5:18. In every event or circumstance  (thing) the Christian is to give thanks to God for the good He can bring out of the event even should the event be unpleasant. The constant attitude of prayer, mentioned in verse 17, will help the believer maintain gratitude in the face of adversity.’ 

Ah friends, that’s like how we say one hand washes the other; prayer helps us to stay thankful regardless of our circumstances! Then we come to a big one: ‘Quench not the Spirit.’ Now that is possibly the most important aspect of Christian living, for the Holy Spirit of God has been placed within us to lead and guide us in a godly life on this ungodly earth. And when you ‘Quench it,’ that means, ‘stifle’ or ‘suppress it’ then it cannot do the job it was sent to do. As the scholars tell us, we are hindered in rejoicing, in prayer, in giving thanks during adversity, and despising prophetic utterances inspired by the Spirit. 

It’s basically what Bruh Paul said to Ephesians: ‘And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.’ (Eph. 4:30) And yuh know what friends, the more we suppress, stifle or repress the Holy Spirit of God in our lives, the less it is able to act on our behalf. It doesn’t sound as loud and clear as it once did, and we are basically left to paddle our own canoe, which certainly is not a wise action. 

Then we come to the next practical aspect of Christian living as prescribed by Bruh Paul to the Thessalonians. ‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.’ (vs. 21) That means be careful of what you believe, try and prove them before you believe them, and hang on to the good ones. It’s similar to what he said more explicitly to the Philippians. ‘Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest (noble), whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise (anything praiseworthy), think (meditate) on these things.’ (Phil. 4:8) 

Yes, believers need to think or meditate on the right things, if we want to do the right things, which is ‘Abstain from all appearance of evil.’ (vs.22) And what does that mean? It’s like Bruh Paul explained in his message to the church at Rome. ‘Recompense (repay) to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men (have regard for good things)… Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Rom. 12:17, 21). 

It couldn’t be any clearer than that my faithful brethren. And when we follow those basic rules, then our spirits, bodies and souls will be sanctified, set apart for our faithful God, and the surpassing peace He promised, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. And the peace of God is the supreme blessing on this riotous, ungodly, deceitful, evil and unfaithful world. When you have that nothing bothers you, and you can go about Christ’s will with diligence and excellence. 

But where I believe we’ve been most sadly lacking in our Christian journey is in the department of prayer. We haven’t been doing that prayer without ceasing thing. But it’s not too late to begin. So let’s do that right now nuh, let’s go to God in prayer, through our Friday Chant. Altogether now: ‘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, please let’s remember all the stuff we’ve talked about today, and do what it takes to be a true and faithful believer, if we want to see positive changes in our lives and in our world. Much LOVE!

…successfully living for Christ is not easy…but following the guidance of His Holy Spirit…enables us to live right… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   27 January 2022 Isaiah 1:18a.

Isaiah 1:18a.     Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:

Oh friends, I don’t have any tongue in cheek words to begin today’s Bit, another cold and mostly sunshiny Thursday. (smile) But I do have some wise and admonishing words from the Lord our God, spoken by the prophet Isaiah to his people Israel, a long time ago, that certainly seem very appropriate to our current situation. It’s a call to repentance. So, let’s read, listen, ponder and contemplate the wisdom of these age old, but ever new sentiments from our God, and then put them into practice. 

Isaiah declares: ‘Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgement (justice), relieve the oppressed (reprove the oppressor), judge (defend, vindicate) the fatherless, plead for the widow.’ (Is. 1:16-17) 

Yes my brethren, those are indeed wise and powerful words that we all ought to hearken to, because our world has been overtaken by the enemy with his evil doings, and for it to improve, we must turn to the Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and all therein, and cleanse ourselves of the enormous iniquity of which we are guilty. 

Now, here are some interesting comments from the scholars on those verses. ‘1:16-17. Wash does not indicate that the sinner may cleanse himself. Nor does it refer to mere ritual washing. Rather, it indicates that the sinner must accept the cleansing offered by the Lord, a cleansing of the heart resulting in true repentance.’ 

Yuh see my people, we can muddy our waters, but we can’t make them clean again on our own. We have to accept God’s cleansing, which means a sincere turning away from sin, and only through Christ Jesus can we accomplish such a heroic and herculean task. Yes, sin is no joke, like so many of us today consider it. 

Sin is serious business and it’s what’s driving our world right now, not the righteousness of God, as He desires. And with its many alluring enchantments and enhancements it’s not easy to turn away from sin. That’s why we need a power greater than the enemy to help us do it successfully. 

Oh, the Lord knows we’ll always fall into occasional sin because of our natural sinful nature, but with His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, to lead and guide us, we have more than a fighting chance to keep sin to a minimum in our earthly lives. That brings us back to the rest of Isaiah’s declaration. (Wow! I spelled that right!) 

He continues in a less accusatory and judgemental vein, but still not mincing his words. ‘Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ (Is. 1:18-20) 

Oh friends, our God is willing to sit down and reason with us, if we are willing to admit our sin and change from our evil ways. But if we refuse to come together with Him, but rather to rebel and be disobedient, then we’ll suffer the just punishment for such behaviour. 

And no one has to tell us that’s what’s happening to us right now! We have boldly rebelled against the dictates of the Lord and gone our own sinful way. Consequently, we’re being devoured, and not by the sword alone, through worldwide strife, but also through worldwide sickness, worldwide poverty and economic failure, with worldwide disasters, both natural and man-made, all occurring simultaneously! 

And yet we refuse, stubbornly and adamantly refuse to turn back to God and seek His forgiveness so that we could once more eat of the good of our land. Hn! Foolish pride and unwise belief in one’s own power will lead us to our demise every time. How did Cousin Sol put it? ‘A man’s heart deviseth (plans) his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.’ (Prov. 16:9) Yes friends, ‘The Lord is sovereign over man’s scheming and planning,’ so we often scheme and plan in vain. 

But enough of me, (smile) let’s listen to what the renowned scholars have to say on the matter. ‘1:18-20. The prophet’s appeal to come and reason together reveals God’s gracious invitation to all men. It literally means to be “reasonable” by repenting and turning to God. Their sin is described as scarlet and red like crimson, referring to their bloodguiltiness before God. 

The term ‘crimson’ also means ‘worm,’ referring to the colourful red dye of the scarlet worm. The eradication of this stain turns it snowy white and is symbolic of the life-changing grace of God, which delivers men from the guilt and condemnation of sin. Thus, the prophet reminds his readers that God stands ready to cleanse and forgive all who will turn to Him.’ 

Glory Hallelujah my people! What a great and remarkable God we serve! And though I’m no prophet, I believe it’s my bounden duty to again remind us of our Creator’s willingness to embrace all those who turn back to Him in sincere repentance. And His awesome Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, said it as plainly and clearly as He could. And we all know Him as a clear and straight-talking person. 

‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) And we all like to quote that scripture in reference to the goodness of God, but what we fail to realize is that all those who don’t belief in Christ Jesus will ‘perish.’ Yes, that’s what he said…and meant. So, it’s up to us choose whether we believe or not, but please remember there are major consequences attached to each decision. End of sermon! (smile) 

But anyway, for those of us who choose to believe, the Lord has most graciously endowed us with blessings we don’t really deserve, but which help us to do His earthly work. We call them our Thursday Blessings. And since a blessing is not a blessing until it’s declared, let’s declare them right now nuh, in loud, confident, though humble voice. 

‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! 

I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to, will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and every day! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and share the fruit of those blessings with others, just as generously as the Lord’s shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…sin only looks good on the outside…but inside…it’s as dirty as hell… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 January 2022 Matthew 19:26.

Matthew 19:26.      With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

One more time around the block with the freezing temps! This Wednesday morning in late January it’s only about minus 12 Celsius. Not bad for a winter’s day, I’d say! (smile) Then there’s the mitigating factor of bright sunshine, so we’re not totally without hope. And when we have Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, then we’re filled with even more hope, not a worry on the horizon, because He washes away all our sins, our tears, our fears and foibles! Give Him some thanks and praise my brethren for the awesome help and hope He brings to those who truly believe in Him, and faithfully try to do His will!  

But yuh know, I personally prefer the cold, dry, bright weather, to the dark, damp, dreary cloudy type that just seeps into your very soul, dampens your spirit, and has you calling out even more urgently than usual to Jesus for help in handling it. (smile) And today is as good a day as any to remind ourselves of what Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) called ‘The Possibility Thinker’s Creed.’ Please pray with me: ‘When faced with a mountain, I will not quit. I will keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath, or simply stay and turn the mountain into a gold mine – with God’s help!’ 

Yes friends, that’s how Possibility thinkers behave! That’s how those who believe in the biggest Possibility Thinker ever, Jesus Christ, live their lives; with a total sense of purpose, that has Him leading and guiding them, with no give up in their vocabulary, because give up doesn’t exist in Christ’s vocabulary! With Him, EVERYTHING, and ANYTHING is possible! Remember when He talked to the disciples about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, and they were so amazed, wondering who then who could be saved? (Matt. 19:23-25) 

Then He spoke these memorable words: ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’ (Matt. 19:26) Now my fellow believers, that’s something we should write indelibly in our hearts, souls and spirits; something we need to hold on to tightly, because that’s what gives us hope in the dark and troubled times. Certain things we want to happen might not happen, but once we believe that ALL things are possible with God, then we won’t give up or lose hope, because at any moment the Lord could reach out and touch us positively in our less than desired circumstances or situations. 

But if you don’t believe that God can do the impossible, then your hope will die as soon as all the man-made solutions are exhausted without a positive result. And long before Jesus ever came, the prophet Jeremiah begun praying thus for the safety and security of his people Israel: ‘Ah Lord God behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard (difficult) for thee.’ (Jer. 32:17) 

That’s the gospel truth my faithful brethren! And we’ve lived to see it in so many instances, especially the most electrifying one, where the Lord God Almighty raised His crucified Son, Christ Jesus from the dead, with the awesome promise that those who believe in Him, will also see a marvellous day of resurrection in a wonderful time to come. It just takes believing, enduring, persevering, not giving up, and trying our best to do His will – and let’s not forget that He’s always there to help us! 

And we can go even further back to when the Lord promised that Sarah, Abraham’s wife would bear him, a son, an heir to his vast fortune, and Sarah laughed, though she later denied it, because she had been barren for so long, and was then in the downward spiral of her life, when that seemed impossible. And yuh better believe that raised the Lord’s ire, and He admonished Abraham, saying: ‘Is there anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.’ (Gen. 18:14) 

Yes my fellow saints, the Lord doesn’t take kindly to us doubting His promises. And to prove His awesome power, it wasn’t until some twenty-five years later, when Sarah was ninety, and Abraham one hundred, He fulfilled that promise, and Isaac was born to the supposed old folks! So please, let’s not ever doubt the power and might of our great God, we do so to our own detriment. And I like how, after Jeremiah’s prayer, the Good Book tells us: ‘Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh, is there any thing too hard for me?’ (Jer. 32:27) 

Oh my people, the Lord is LOVING and kind and all those wonderful things, but He certainly doesn’t take kindly to us doubting, or trying to take away His amazing power and glory. And I think He sent the definitive message on that through the prophet Isaiah, where He proclaims with the utmost certainty: ‘I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.’ (Is. 42:8) And all down through the ages, in His own way and time, He’s proven that, and will continue to do so until He finally destroys the wicked and creates the promised eternal home with Him as our light and God. (Rev. 21:3) 

Now it’s time for those of us who sincerely believe and sincerely try to do His will, to go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Christ Jesus!  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!’ 

Remember now, we are called on to endure, to persevere, and if we do, that future will be even more glorious than we can ever ask or imagine! So, let’s show Jesus’ awesome power to a disbelieving world by hanging in there steadfastly to the end nuh mih bredrin! Much LOVE!

…the One who created the universe and all therein…still is…and will always be in control of it… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   25 January 2022 Psalm 107:6.

Psalm 107:6.    Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. 

Well, it’s another cold and snowy Tuesday morning…but thankfully nothing like it was last Tuesday! Hn! Some snow did fall yesterday, but a minuscule amount in comparison to last week’s debacle. And again, much thanks should be given, because in some places they are still digging out and cleaning up from that amazing and awesome, but oh so dangerous and deadly amount of heavenly precipitation! (smile) 

And since we are in thanksgiving mode, I believe that one of my favourite prayers is most appropriate for today’s situation. It’s something I’ve shared before, but please remember that prayer is made to share over and over again. (smile) This awesome prayer was prepared by the Life-Study Fellowship, Noroton, Connecticut. I’m not sure exactly when, but it’s before 2014, which is on the copy I have, that tells you how much I like it, and how long I’ve had it, but I can see that I’ve also changed the date, and still do every year. (smile) 

So please pray with me: It’s titled: Lord, Please Accept My Heartfelt Thanks!  And opens thus: ‘Praise the Lord for His Goodness.’ (Psalm 107:8). Dear Lord, You are so good to me! And I thank You sincerely for the many blessings You send me! I’m very glad to have You in my life day in and day out – whatever I do and wherever I go! You are the One who always does what is best for my happiness! 

How grateful I am to be able to turn to You for guidance and comfort when troubles come my way! If any situation arises that makes me feel discouraged, You let me know I can lean on You for support! And because of Your LOVE for me, somehow, I seem to find the strength to keep going – even through the most difficult of times! I’m grateful, too, for peaceful moments like these when I’m all alone with You in prayer! 

Talking with You never fails to reassure and uplift me! Nothing I say to You goes unheard. You listen with great concern to everything I confide in You! For You truly care about me! As I look to 2022, I pray that You will continue to watch over me – and grant me even more of Your wonderful blessings! And may I serve You well in my every word, my every deed! Be my Guide hour by hour I pray! Amen.’ 

Oh my people, that prayer just resonates through every fibre of my being because it seems to cover all the bases! And praying it ‘never fails to reassure and uplift me,’ which is one of the major purposes of prayer! I surely hope that it touches your hearts and souls too, reassuring and uplifting you. And having said all of that, I guess the most logical thing to follow it up with is some of Psalm 107, which is titled ‘God’s wonderful works to the children of men.’ 

So let’s read together: ‘O Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy (LOVING-kindness) endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary (desolate) way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 

Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men. For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.’ (Ps. 107:1-9) 

Ah friends, there is so much in those first few verses of the psalm, that I don’t know what to talk about. (smile) We can talk about the Lord’s goodness and mercy which endure forever…Or about crying out to Him when in distress and Him delivering us out of our troubles…Or talk about praising the Lord for His goodness to us undeserving children of men…Or how He satisfies the longing soul and fills the empty soul with goodness. Take your pick! And that’s only from the first nine verses, and the psalm has 43 verses all told. 

Anyhow, in our sad and sorry current situation, I believe the verse about crying out to God in our time of trouble is what we should talk about; check out a couple scriptures on it, and see how our forefathers did it. So let’s turn to Psalm 50, God is the judge, where the psalmist Asaph wisely, provocatively and admonishingly writes on the Lord’s behalf: ‘If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ (Ps. 50:12-15) 

Yes my fellow believers, it’s obvious that we need to call upon our great God in these evil and sorrowful times, because He is the ONLY real source of help! It says so all throughout the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation! So why are we so loathe to call upon the Creator of the universe for help eh, especially when nothing else, no man-made solution is working? Are we afraid, because deep down our souls hide in darkness and evil and we don’t truly honour God like we preach? And we fall into the wicked and ungodly category that verses 16-21 of Psalm 50 talk about. 

Under those circumstances, then these last two verses of Psalm 50, seem appropriate. ‘Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation (conduct) aright will I show the salvation of God.’ (Ps. 50:22-23) It’s so simple friends, we only have two options, be against God, live wickedly and suffer eternal death and damnation, or be for Him, live right and see His wonderful salvation! 

But that most important decision has to be made on an individual basis, everyone deciding for themselves. And yes, others will try to persuade us to fall into one category or the other, but please, please, first check out all the facts for yourself, then make a wise and informed decision. Just in case it helps, I made mine to follow Christ, because, in my opinion, that seems to be the best option. And for all those of us who believe likewise, let’s go home declaring (chuh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. 

As one strong, sincere and confident 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!’ 

Now let’s go out and action those words, sharing the amazing LOVE and friendship of Christ with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do! Much LOVE!

…when the righteous cry…the Lord hears…and answers…  

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   24 January 2022 John 14:15.

John 14:15.     If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments.

Ah friends, my most humble apologies for the Bit being so late today. I began it earlier on, but just wasn’t in proper functioning mode, so I left it until I felt capable of doing it justice. But here’s what I had written so far: (smile) Monday, oh Monday…how shall we describe thee eh? As the scariest or most anxiety-filled day of the week…the one everybody LOVES to hate, and doesn’t like to appear on their horizon, because it means work, travel, labour, etc. etc.…? That’s getting up off our fat, lazy, entitled fannies after a weekend of great indulgence, indulgences of the mostly carnal kind. (smile) 

Yes, my people, Monday is the day that brings out the worst in us, when we need to be at our best, at our best in winning souls for Jesus! It gives us no break, no leeway, just a constant flashing of the figurative whip, ever so subtly, yeah, very subtly inviting us to get up and get a move on! Oh Monday… you are such a hard taskmaster! But any leader who’s worth his salt, must have some of the hard taskmaster resilience in them. And we find that in both Satan and Jesus, though the flashing whip of Jesus is coated with genuine caring, LOVE, mercy and compassion, while the devil is just full of evil, selfishness and greed. 

And we see the tough LOVE in Jesus, when He says: ‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren (brothers), and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14:26-27) Yes friends, those are indeed hard words, but we know that Jesus did not mean we ought to truly hate our friends and families, but that His ministry, His will ought to be first and foremost in our minds, bodies, hearts and souls. 

That’s just it! If our main intent is not to further the kingdom of God and His righteousness, despite the many problems we might face, then we are lacking in true discipleship. Jesus also declared to the disciples: ‘Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.’ (John 15:15) And, ‘If ye LOVE me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15) Now that’s the hallmark of any follower of any leader; to do what they command them to do, otherwise you are not a true follower. Which means that a lot of us supposed true believers are not really true believers, since we don’t do what Jesus says, we don’t keep His commandments. 

But then, in typical Jesus fashion, after admonishing us to give up our will for His, to live our lives by His dictates, He turns around and promises: ‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with 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 with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless (as orphans): I will come to you.’ (John 14:16-18) 

Ah mih bredrin, what a wonderful Lord and Saviour is our Jesus! He lays down strong rules, but enhances them with mighty promises. And we all know He kept that promise of the coming of the indwelling Holy Ghost on that long ago Pentecost day, when the believers were in the upper room… ‘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 all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ (Acts 2:2-4) 

Jesus does keep His promises friends, although some of them might seem farfetched to our puny and finite minds. Yes, since that momentous day, upon receiving Christ as Lord and Saviour, every believer has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them in their earthly walk with Christ.  And let’s not forget what we call our Great Commission backed by a great promise, when Jesus instructed the disciples, and consequently ALL future followers: 

‘All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:18-20) 

Now that’s a tough commission to enforce, but the disciples took Jesus seriously because they trusted Him implicitly, and did it, obviously with His help, through the Holy Spirit. The problem right now though is that the current crop of believers is not pushing forward as powerfully and steadfastly as we ought to, that’s why Christ’s church is suffering and in much disarray. We’re not sufficiently keeping Christ’s commandments, not LOVING Him enough, not being His true friend, and thus we’re falling behind in our discipleship. 

But all is not lost, it’s never lost when Jesus is in the mix! That means we can still make a substantial difference if we hunker down and do like we ought to. And since prayer, with thanksgiving is vital to our successful discipleship, let’s turn to our great and wonderful God right now in prayer, with thanksgiving, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, asking for divine strength and guidance. 

Altogether now: ‘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, please remember that we’ve just promised to pray and seek the Lord’s face, so we had better keep that promise if we want to receive positive answers to our prayers, because the Lord doesn’t suffer promise breakers gladly. Much LOVE!

…only by keeping God’s commandments…can we ever hope to prosper and succeed… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   23 January 2022   1 John 5:5.

1 John 5:5.     Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.

So this is what they call a winter wonderland eh? The white snow spread all over, with ice in between, and try as you can, you cannot get away from either of them. (smile) But last weekend’s major snow storm, with high winds and a dash of rain, plus a tornado down in the U.S, really mash up North America. It showed our frailties and weaknesses, as well as our unpreparedness for the mighty onslaught of Mother Nature, whenever she desires to pay us a powerful visit. And when you add the negative effects the Covid-19 storm has already caused, you can’t help but wonder what’s next, and how much more we can stand? 

But you know what friends, we have an answer for that. We can withstand a whole lot more! How, you ask? Because we have Jesus, that’s how! For He ‘is our refuge and strength, a very present help (an abundantly available help) in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst (the heart) of the sea.’ (Ps. 46:1-2) 

Yes my fellow believers, in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through His most wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, we have the sure and safe rock of salvation to whom we can take all our troubles, and find a reassuring place of refuge under His mighty wings. We don’t need anything or anyone but our Jesus, both in the good and bad times! 

And to open today’s worship, with mostly electronic gatherings, because of the Covid restrictions,  we are going to raise our rooves, that’s figuratively now (smile) with an African American spiritual that goes by several names, including: “Down by the Riverside”, Ain’t Gonna Study War No More” and “Gonna lay down my burden.” For our purposes today though, we’ll call it ‘Gonna Lay Down my burdens.’  

The Wikipedia website tells us that ‘Its roots date back to before the American Civil War, though it was first published in 1918 in Plantation Melodies: A Collection of Modern, Popular and Old-time Negro-Songs of the Southland, Chicago, by the Rodeheaver Company… The song was first recorded by the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet in 1920 (published by Columbia in 1922), and there are at least 14 black gospel recordings before World War II… Because of its pacifistic imagery, “Down by the Riverside” has also been used as an anti-war protest song, especially during the Vietnam War. It is also included in collections of socialist and labor songs.’ 

Wow! What an all-purpose song! And just like it has several different titles and versions, it also ‘has many lyrical variations, though usually, each stanza follows a standard form, with one sentence that differs from one stanza to the next.’ And for our purposes today (smile), here’s what we’re gonna sing, in an up-tempo, scintillating, modern contemporary style, with plenty music, dancing and joy, a la the Craig Adams version, as befits a soul that truly declares: 

‘I’m gonna lay down my burdens down by the riverside Down by the riverside down by the riverside Oh I’m gonna lay down my burdens down by the riverside Ain’t gonna study war no more Well I ain’t gonna study war no more ain’t gonna study war no more Ain’t gonna study war no more I ain’t gonna study war… I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside Down by the riverside down by the riverside I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside Ain’t gonna study war no more Well I ain’t gonna study war… I ain’t gonna study war…ain’t gonna study war no more. 

I’m gonna put on my long white robe, down by the riverside, gonna put on my long white robe down by the riverside Ain’t gonna study war no more Well I ain’t gonna study war no more ain’t gonna study war no more Ain’t gonna study war no more I ain’t gonna study war… I’m gonna try on my starry (golden) crown down by the riverside Down by the riverside down by the riverside I’m gonna try on my starry (golden) crown down by the riverside Ain’t gonna study war no more Well I ain’t gonna study war…I ain’t gonna study war…Ain’t going to study war no more.’ 

That was marvellous my people! And according to Wikipedia, ‘The song suggests baptism in water, using the metaphor of crossing the River Jordan to enter the Promised Land in the Old Testament. The refrain of “ain’t gonna study war no more” is a reference to a quotation found in the Book of Isaiah 2:4: “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”  

Now, if we could only truly lay down our burdens at the feet of Jesus, at the foot of His cross, where He pleads with us through His Great Invitation to ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden (burdened), 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) 

And that is indeed the greatest invitation ever meted out to mankind my brethren! But sadly, too many of us unwisely refuse to accept it, when it’s simple acceptance can radically change our entire lives… for the better that is! It’s all about joy and peace in Jesus despite the troubles of the world. Listen to how John puts it in his first gospel nuh. 

‘For this is the LOVE of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (burdensome). For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.’ (1 John 5:3-5) 

Oh my people, it could not be said any plainer or simpler. Only those who believe in Christ Jesus, who have a strong relationship with Him, and who obey His commandments can overcome the world, can truly lay down their burdens by the riverside! That’s the long and short of it all! 

So please, let’s take all that we’ve said to day and sincerely and seriously ponder it nuh, and make the necessary changes in our individual lives, so that we can truly become one of those saints of Christ, who truly accept His invitation, and gratefully lay down our burdens at His redeeming cross. That’s the wisest decision we can ever make in this life, and it will definitely go a long way in deciding where we spend the next one!  Much LOVE!

…only through Christ…can earthly burdens…be truly laid down… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   22 January 2022 John 8:12.

John 8:12.      I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Ah friends, it’s a cold, partly sunny Saturday morning in my neck of the woods! And would you believe I’ve just learned a life lesson from two of God’s wild creations, a leopard and a lizard, looks like a small iguana. The iguana is trying to cross this dirt road and the leopard is trying to attack it, but every time the leopard comes near, the lizard’s tail flies out and lashes the leopard in his neck area, so he can’t get close to his prey. 

Now, sometimes it seems as though the leopard is getting closer so that he can grab the lizard, but this has been going on for almost ten minutes now, and they are halfway across the road, but no luck for the leopard. Every few steps the lizard makes, the leopard rushes in, but the lizard’s always ready for him. And that just reminded me of how persistent Satan is in trying to get us to do his evil bidding instead of Jesus’ goodwill. And we have to keep on persistently lashing him in the face to keep him away, otherwise we will fall prey to his evil desires. 

One would think that the leopard after so much abuse to his neck would go off and find some other easier prey to capture, but he doesn’t. And that’s the way his royal evil one operates, he’s constantly at us, through every means he can find, trying to break down our LOVE for Jesus. But with the grace, mercy, strength and powerful spirit of Jesus dwelling within us, we can keep lashing him, and driving him away. Let’s never stop doing that my friends, for our very lives, our eternal lives, depend on sternly rebuking the enemy. 

Anyway, it’s Saturday and we do have some quotes from our friend Anselm, as he tries to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one tells us that: ‘Being sad with the right people is better than being happy with the wrong ones.’ Now that seems to have a kernel of truth within it, for happiness merely reflects our current circumstances, and they can change from minute to minute. But the right people around us give life and hope for the future, and those right people will care for us regardless of our circumstances. 

That why it always pays to have the right folks around us, not the ones that just make us feel happy in the moment. Sadly though, not many of us in this current world are that blessed. No wonder so many lives are being wasted and lived in less than suitable conditions. 

That brings us to this next long, but ever so valuable quote. ‘Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So LOVE the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said that it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.’ 

Yes friends, that certainly resonates two of Jesus’ marvellous promises found in the gospel of John. First off is: ‘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 the second is like unto it. (smile) ‘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) 

Ah my brethren, Jesus Himself, speaking from personal experience, promised that this life would not be easy, not the bed of roses that so many of us believers expect. But in Him, we find the peace that we need to get us successfully through this earthly life. And that leads us to the following quote: ‘What seems like the right thing to do could also be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life.’ 

And we all know that’s no lie, for in this evil and ungodly world the right things are often the hardest to do, as we seem to be always fighting an uphill battle when we try to do right. But like the lizard and the leopard above, we must never stop trying to do right, because that’s what Jesus’ kingdom is based on, righteousness; the system of always doing right, even though much opposition comes against us. 

And that brings us to this last long, but ever truthful quote. ‘Get rid of the poor me syndrome. Instead of thinking of what you have lost, focus on what to do next. If you have lost your job, this is the opportunity for you to find another job or start another career. This is your chance to start your own business and become your own boss. You have accumulated many years of working experience and specialized in certain skills and you can make use of them.’ 

Now that’s the gospel truth my people, especially in these rough and overwhelming pandemic times brought on by the Covid -19 virus and its many variants. Now, all of us have suffered to varying extents, and sadly, many of us are feeling sorry for ourselves, due to the unfortunate circumstances which we’ve been thrown into through no fault of our own. And it’s expected that grief and sorrow will be experienced, but the problem is that we cannot allow self-pity, that poor me one feeling to overwhelm us and cause us to give up. 

Rebooting our lives will not be easy, but as we saw above, from those two quotes of Jesus from John’s gospel, He is the One who can bring us through this crisis and lead us on to a fruitful life. Remember what He also said earlier on in John chapter 14: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6) And also remember, the glorious statement and promise He made in John chapter 8. ‘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) 

That means we just can’t give up my people, for giving up does not exist in Christ’s vocabulary. Instead, right now, in these most unfortunate times, believers need to dig down even deeper in our souls, than we’ve ever down before, and let all the goodness, grace, mercy, strength and power of Jesus rise up in us, so that we can show the disbelieving world the fortitude and strength of purpose, joy and salvation, we find in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And that’s our sincere prayer for us all today! Much LOVE my fellow saints!

…when tough times come…that’s when tough people…Jesus’ people…get tough and get going… 

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