Today’s Scrip-Bit   25 September 2022 Matthew 7:13.

Matthew 7:13.        Enter ye in at the strait (narrow) gate: for wide is the gate and broad the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many they be which go in thereat.

It’s the Lord’s day friends, the Lord’s day, so gather round, let’s give thanks and praise for being alive to see another Sunday, and being able to fellowship with each other, despite the rainy weather conditions, either physically in the Lord’s sanctuary, or by telecommunications. Remember, there’s no distance in prayer. What a glorious day Sunday is; one where believers all over the world gather to celebrate Christ and His marvellous doings for mankind! 

So let’s open, as we always do, with a song of praise and thanksgiving. And today’s song is an old one, we don’t know who wrote it, or when, but it’s in the vein of the Negro Spirituals, made popular during the time of slavery. It’s titled ‘One More River To Cross.’ We all know it, so let’s sing it with plenty passion, in a soulful, mid-tempo, down home, Southern, hand clapping bluesy style. 

But before we open up our harmonious pipes in sacrificial praise, we have a spoken intro, borrowed from the song ‘One more mountain to climb,’ that sounded very appropriate for our song too. (smile) It says: ‘(Hey Lord, my troubles never seem to end, Tell me, are you still my friend? I got such a heavy load. When will I reach that glory road?)  Now that’s a question I’m sure we would all like a positive answer to. (smile) 

And then we begin swinging with the chorus. (Chorus: One more river to cross, one more mountain to climb One more valley that I’ve gotta go thru then I’m leaving my troubles behind One more battle with the devil, then I know he’ll understand I’m going thru with Jesus, Hallelujah, Holding to His nail scarred hand, holding to His nail scarred hand.) Oh, I’ve had a lot of troubles and trials, in my little life span And when I’m standing alone, and the battle gets hard, I always do the best I can I’ve crossed a million valleys, and shed a million tears, But when I come to the River of Jordan, Hallelujah, then I’ll have no fear (repeat)

 (Chorus: One more river to cross, one more mountain to climb One more valley that I’ve gotta go thru then I’m leaving my troubles behind One more battle with the devil, then I know he’ll understand I’m going thru with Jesus, Hallelujah, Holding to His nail scarred hand, holding to His nail scarred hand.) Yes, There’s been a lot of people talking ‘bout me since I’ve walked this narrow way But that’s just another little valley, I came thru it when I prayed, I’ve climbed a lot of high mountains and crossed a lot of little streams But when I see ol’ Jordan cold and dark, that’ll be the last for me (repeat)

 (Chorus: One more river to cross, one more mountain to climb One more valley that I’ve gotta go thru then I’m leaving my troubles behind One more battle with the devil, then I know he’ll understand I’m going thru with Jesus, Hallelujah, Holding to His nail scarred hand, holding to His nail scarred hand.) repeat.’ 

Ah mih people, what peace and joy it brings to a believer’s heart to be able to sing such encouraging and uplifting songs! And the wonderful thing about that song is that it names many of the problems we go through in this earthly life, but if we’re wise, we’ll find Jesus, and go through them all holding His nail scarred hands by which He was cruelly impaled on the cross at Calvary, all for our sins. 

Wow! Thus, the problems of this world pale in comparison to the peace, joy and LOVE we get from going through it with Jesus as our Leader and Guide, our Lord and Saviour. And I like how the song says: ‘One more battle with the devil, then I know he’ll understand I’m going through with Jesus, holding on to His nail scarred hands.’ Yes friends, at some stage the devil will be forced to understand that it’s Jesus we desire and not Him. He’s S.O.L, cause he’s never done anything like what Jesus has done for us. 

And isn’t it strange, but rather interesting, how none of the people who initiated the words of this song ever saw the River Jordan, but used crossing it as the landmark in their dream of entering heaven, like the Israelites crossed it to enter the Promised Land. But please notice that the Israelites didn’t just go across the Jordan without their own problems. The priests that bore the Ark of the covenant had to, by faith, step into the overflowing river, before it to backed up, and then stand there while the Israelites crossed on the dry ground around them. (Josh. 3:11-17) In the same manner, we need strong faith to cross over to whatever home we’re seeking with Jesus. 

Then there’s the part of the song which says: ‘There’s been a lot of people talking about me since I walked this narrow way.’ And that’s just the straight and narrow path that leads to Jesus and His righteousness. As He rightly proclaims: ‘Enter ye in at the strait (narrow) gate: for wide is the gate and broad the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many they be which go in thereat. Because strait (how narrow) is the gate and narrow (difficult or confined) is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’ (Matt. 7:13-14) 

Yes, it’s sometimes rough travelling that straight and narrow path, but in the end it’s all worth it! And how did our forefathers put it in the song? ‘But that’s just another little valley, I came thru it when I prayed,’ Oh, do we ever need to pray when we’re in those valleys, struggling to get a foothold on life, struggling to climb up the formidable looking mountains set before us, because that’s the only thing that will bring us out of them, help us reach the mountain tops. Like Bruh David says in Psalm 23: ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.’ (Ps. 23:4) 

Isn’t it wonderful to know that even in the deepest and darkest valleys that we are not alone, that the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ leads and guides us even in those dismal times. So, though ‘we’ve crossed a million valleys, and shed a million tears’ when we come to the end, we won’t be afraid, because Jesus will be right there with his nail scarred hands outstretched, waiting to meet us and help us cross over that ole River Jordan. 

However, that means getting prepared from right now, because none of us know when we’ll come to that river with Jesus waiting on the other side. And if you’re not ready when you get there, then His nail scarred hands won’t be outstretched to meet you. So, a word of warning to the wise. Much LOVE!

…with Jesus as our guide…there are no problems we can’t handle… 

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

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