Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 February 2019 Joel 2:28.

Joel 2:28.   ​And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
 
And after the snow and the freezing cold, come the rain and the flood! Yeh friends, flood warnings have been issued in these parts for the next couple days due to the quickly melting snow and the rain accompanying it. As they say, when it’s not one thing, it’s another! 

But that’s just life, and we have to roll with the punches, and as believers in Christ we are better prepared to do that than most of the population, so there should be no cause for overly serious concern.

Nonetheless, we’re only human and still liable to fall prey to the deceitful whispers of the enemy, which means we’re somewhat less than up to scratch this wet and rainy Monday morning. (smile) But it’s all good, for we have just the right pick-me-up to solve your problem; that’s our Monday Morning Battle Hymn; antidote of much repute! 

So without further ado, let’s get seriously, but humbly and confidently communicating with the Father. As one body now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

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

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

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

There you go friends, matter fixed! We’re bright and bubbly now as the Holy Spirit works in us to put a smile on our faces, strength and confidence in our hearts and souls and have us excited to go out now and work for Jesus! Wow! What a transformation can take place when the Spirit of the Lord God Jehovah goes to work in His children! There’s nothing else like it in this whole wide world! 

And that points us to God’s promise of that future event through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.’ 

And then Joel goes on to prophesy about the things that will go on during the Great Tribulation and the establishment of the earthly Davidic millennial kingdom that follows the events of the Great Tribulation. However, we’re only interested here in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, and we all know that happened on the miraculous Day of Pentecost! 

What a majestic showing that was mih people! Nobody can put on a show like our omnipotent God nuh! Can you imagine sitting down in that room with the disciples, and all of a sudden you hear this sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind which then proceeded to fill the whole house? (Acts 2:2) I know they were all waiting for and anticipating the coming of the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised, but I doubt that they were expecting it to be so such a heart-stopping event. 

And the mighty rushing wind wasn’t all, for as the Good Book tells it: ‘And there appeared unto them cloven (divided) tongues like as of fire. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ (Acts 2:3-4) 

And can you imagine the confusion when these uneducated men from the surrounding area came out and began speaking in the languages of the different Jews who had come to Jerusalem for the big feast? They were all amazed, some even claimed that they were drunk: ‘Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.’ (Acts 2:13) 

But that’s when Peter gave his great speech: ‘ But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said, unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day (9.am). But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;’ (Acts 2:14-16) And then he goes on to specify the words of our Bit and the rest of Joel’s prophecy.  

So you see friends, it’s not wise to write off any of God’s promises, especially if He doesn’t give a definite time frame, for remember His thoughts and ways and times are not like ours, so some of those promises could be earmarked for hundreds of years later, like that of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon all believers. 

Now I sincerely hope we have all been encouraged some this Monday morning, and that our faith has also been strengthened by this review of one of God’s great promises! So please hang in there and don’t ever give up, even when things seem like they can’t get any worse, because they can always get better when our hope and trust and faith are safely placed in our Triune God! Much LOVE!

…logic dictates…that when you’re at the bottom…the only place left to go is up…and Jesus can…and will reach down and pull you up… 

P.S. I’m chuckling here as I just realized that I passed the test, and thus have a testimony! Hear it nuh. The ole fella had a rough night, and so was one of those in the not up to scratch group today, (smile) and was really struggling to write the Bit. But I hung in, didn’t give up, and yuh see how Jesus eventually reached down and pulled me up out of the mire and helped me to write something sensible. (smile) Bless His holy name and His faithfulness! That means He can and will do the same for you too. Much LOVE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 September 2017 John 14:16.

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

Arise my brethren, it is the Lord’s Day, and we must be trekking to His sanctuary to engage in blissful fellowship with other believers. What a time it will be, with joyful songs of praise and worship, the reading of God’s word, which enlivens our spirit, and words of encouragement and prayer for and with each other. 

But notwithstanding all of that, these are indeed disastrous times in our world, and we need extra comfort from our faith, thus we’ll open this morning with the old hymn ‘Precious Lord, take my hand’ that fits the bill. The song was written in 1932 by Thomas A Dorsey, a black man from Chicago after his wife Nettie died while giving birth to a child (who also died shortly thereafter). Dorsey sang the song for his friend, Gospel singer Theodore Frye, and Frye’s choir sang it the next Sunday at the Ebeneezer Baptist Church. 

So please friends, and fellow believers, let’s offer up the sacrifice of praise from our lips, as we seek comfort from our comforting God. In rich and soulful harmony now, as we feel it down in our very beings. ‘Precious Lord, take my hand, Lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; Through the storm, through the night, Lead me on to the light: (Refrain: Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home.) 

When my way grows drear, Precious Lord, linger near, When my life is almost gone, Hear my cry, hear my call, Hold my hand lest I fall: (Refrain: Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home.) When the darkness appears And the night draws near, And the day is past and gone, At the river I stand, Guide my feet, hold my hand: (Refrain: Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home.) 

Precious Lord, take my hand Lead me on, let me stand, I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m alone; Through the storm, through the night Lead me on to the light Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home (lead me home)’ 

Oh my brethren, there is NONE other than Almighty God who can satisfy that need for reassurance and comfort in our hurting souls! That’s why we need to call out to Him first when terrible times overcome us, for He is our indispensable Healer and Comforter. Listen as Jesus offers assurance to His disciples in our Bit. ‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.’ 

Oh friends, what a wonderful Lord and Saviour we have! He knew that He had to go away and that the disciples would be left in the lurch without Him around.  So He made arrangements with the Father to send them another Comforter, like Jesus, the Holy Spirit, that would dwell within them forever. And he continues: ‘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.’ (John 14:17) 

And the scholars tell us: ’14:17. The Spirit…shall be in you: The ministry of the Holy Spirit, promised to believers of this age, is unique, since it is given to all believers alike, and is permanent (dwelleth, that is “takes up residence”). See verse 23.’  

And we all know that the Holy Spirit made that magnificent appearance to all believers on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus had told them to stay in Jerusalem until the new Comforter came, because they would not have had the parts to go out and do what He required of them. The Good Book describes that momentous event thus: ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord (one purpose, mind) in one place. 

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 2:1-4) 

Ah mih friends, our God doesn’t too things in half measures! When He decides to put on a show, He puts on a big one, with all the bells and whistles, not a little Mickey-Mouse event! (smile) But Jesus’ most touching words to me, were the ones He spoke after promising to send the Holy Spirit. ‘I will not leave you comfortless (orphans): I will come to you.’ (John 14:18) 

What care and compassion Jesus shows for those distraught men who had given up everything they had to follow Him, thinking that He would be setting up a new kingdom at that time, only to later learn that He would be killed and then He would go away and leave them…but not alone. That’s not Jesus’ style friends. Once you come to Him, He will ALWAYS be with you: ‘for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ (Heb:13:5) 

Oh my people, in ending, all I can says is that the best place to find comfort and compassion in times of sorrow, is in the ever-open and ever-LOVING arms of Jesus. He has already offered the 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 (gentle) and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt.11:28-30)  

Friends, it doesn’t get any better than that. But please remember, YOU have to make a serious decision to go to Him to find succour. It won’t just fall in your lap. Much LOVE!

…on a comfort scale of 1-10…Jesus is 11 plus…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 June 2017 Acts 1:5.

Acts 1:5.   For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Welcome friends to Pentecost Sunday; that great day in our faith, fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, when the Holy Spirit made its miraculous entry into the lives of each and every believer at the time, in Jerusalem, the city of God! 

Wow! What a momentous and memorable day that was my fellow believers! Before His ascension, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem so that they could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. ‘For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’ And as loyal followers they obeyed His command and stayed in Jerusalem, and were they ever amazed by the happenings on that fateful day. 

Hear how the Good Book puts it nuh. ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord (purpose of mind) in one place. 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 2:1-4) 

Can you imagine that scene on that fateful Sunday friends? It must have been literally and figuratively mind blowing with the sudden appearance of a mighty rushing wind, the cloven tongues of fire and all of a sudden their ability to speak in other languages! Glory to God for His omnipotence and His awesome generosity to His people! 

Now let’s clarify a couple of things. Jesus said in our Bit that the disciples would be ‘baptized’ with the Holy Ghost, but on Pentecost Day the Good Book says they were ‘filled’ with the Holy Ghost. I’ll try to paraphrase a long explanation that the scholars offer. ‘2:4. The filling and baptism are two different works performed by the Holy Spirit. 

Note their contrasts: (1) Following Pentecost every believer receives the baptism of the Spirit (1 Cor.12:13), hence the New Testament never commands the Christian to receive it. But the filling of the Spirit is not experienced by all believers, and so is commanded (Eph.5:18). 

(2) The baptism is permanent, happening but once for all. The filling is ongoing, occurring continuously as seen in the present tense imperative of Ephesians 5:18, that is, “Keep on being filled.” The verse commands: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (riotousness), but be filled with the Spirit.” 

Since Paul compares the influences of wine and the filling of the Spirit, the word ‘control’ can aptly express the idea of either. The filling of the Spirit is the controlling influence of the Spirit within the believer. Such control is neither universal nor unending, thus it must be commanded and does recur within the believers… 

The baptism is the act by which Jesus, through the Spirit, at conversion brings the believer into relation with Himself and makes the believer a part of God’s people, the church. The filling is the continuous experience within the Christian whereby the Spirit, who already indwells him, keeps control over his life.’

Phew! Hope you all understand that friends. I guess we can compare it somewhat to God breathing life into us ONE time, but then we have to keep on refilling our lungs with air, if we want to stay alive. 

Yes my brethren, Jesus’ words certainly came true, as just before He ascended to heaven, He told them: ‘But ye shall receive power, after that (when) the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8) 

And they certainly made mas (smile) in Jerusalem that day, (read the rest of Acts 2) and around the country later on, and we are now spreading the gospel of Jesus to all parts of the world with the aid of technology! Glory Hallelujah! 

Oh friends, I know it’s our custom to begin each Sunday with some praise and worship, but today I was filled with, controlled by the Holy Spirit to do it differently. (smile) I was so enthused by the Spirit’s working in me, that I had to get to the heart of the matter right away. (smile) 

And Oh, our church held a wonderful Pentecost Prayer Breakfast yesterday morning, with plenty good food, music, and fellowship from several other churches and denominations, plus a couple of Muslim leaders. And it was all rounded out by a moving address on ‘Prayer,’ by our new Bishop, Jennifer Anderson. As usual, a fine time was had by all. And I’m sure Jesus was delighted by that little bit of unity shown by His church, instead of the disunity we are so prone to show. 

Now let’s go home singing one of the songs we sang yesterday. And how appropriate it is eh on this Pentecost Day! So let’s raise out voices in song, and pour forth, the peace, joy, and LOVE that fills our Spirit. 

‘I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul. I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul, I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul. I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul, I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.’ 

And that’s the way it ought to be my people! So let’s go out now and faithfully spread that peace, LOVE and joy the way Jesus desires of us nuh. Much LOVE!

…when the Spirit moves you…you’re helpless to resist…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 June 2014 Acts 2:2

Acts 2:2.     And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

 
Oh Friends, it’s the Day of Pentecost! Two thousand years ago, some fifty days after Jesus’ triumphant resurrection, where He defeated, hell, death, the grave and that foolish crook Lucifer, and some ten days after His ascension, the Holy Ghost came to earth as a beautiful storm; a storm of wind, laced with fire-like appendages.
 
As the Good Book describes it: ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord (purpose or mind) in one place. 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 2:1-4)
 
What a mighty act of our mighty God! Thus fulfilling the promise Jesus made to the disciples just before His ascension. ‘And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’ (Acts 1:4-5)
 
Oh my people, the Lord was at work back then, just like He is now. That’s why we sing: ‘The Holy Ghost power is moving just like a magnet. The Holy Ghost power is moving just like a magnet. Moving here, and moving there. The Holy Ghost power is moving just like a magnet.’
 
Yes my people, the Holy Ghost power is busy all over the world, moving just like a magnet. So if you have even one iota of metal, one iota of Jesus Christ in you, be careful, or rather be joyous, for it will target you. And please don’t try to resist it; instead, let it fall graciously upon you, for there’s nothing as remarkable as the Holy Ghost power in all the heaven and the earth!
 
Ah Friends, what a day that day of Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit was first showered down en masse on all believers! Before that it was given to special people who God needed to do great works for Him, like the prophets. But since that day in Jerusalem, each and every believer is baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.
 
As you can see from verse 5 above, Jesus promised that ALL would be baptized with the Spirit, as they came to the faith. And as the scholars point out, though the first set of scriptures only said that they were ‘filled,’ (Acts 2:4) they were indeed baptized with it.
 
Baptizing is the permanent placement of the Spirit in us, while filling is the continuous regeneration of that power. That means we have to continually renew the controlling influence of the Spirit in our lives, like a rechargeable battery, so that it can abide strong and powerful in our beings, and thus lead and guide us successfully in all righteousness and truth.
 
Now that day of Pentecost we’re talking about was not the first one, but it was an annual feast day in the Jewish calendar, occurring fifty days after the Feast of the first fruits, hence the name Pentecost in Greek. (Lev.15:15-22) And though it only lasted one day, it was certainly a joyous occasion, although I doubt that any of them could have been as joyous as that one when the Holy Spirit made its democratic appearance, beginning the promise of filling all and sundry that believed.
 
And that first day was truly a red letter day, for when the people in Jerusalem heard about the spectacular happenings, they came to where the apostles were, ‘and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue (language or dialect), wherein we were born?’ (Acts 2:6-8)
 
Oh yes Friends, there were all different kinds of people from many different places living in Jerusalem at that time, but yet these poor, uneducated Galileans spoke to each one of them in their own language. Glory Hallelujah! No lesser force than the mysterious movement of the mighty Holy Spirit was involved! Some people even mockingly said that they were drunk, but Peter, in his finest hour, got up and spoke to them. Read Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-42.
 
But my people, Peter’s speech was so great that day that I have to share the end, knowing that many of you won’t check out the scripture. (smile) ‘Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
 
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward (crooked) generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.’ (Acts 2:38-42)
 
And all God’s people declared a loud, ‘Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!’ Yes Friends, what a red letter day that was, and we still talk about today it in tones of awe and wonder!
 
However my people, it’s time for us to be moving on, so I’m going to exhort us, on this day of Pentecost 2014, to get downright friendly with that Spirit of Jesus that indwells us, and today recharge, refill our spiritual batteries, so that we can be guided aright and do Jesus’ work with the excellence and diligence that’s required of us. That’s a mark of true sincerity and everlasting wisdom! Much LOVE!
 
…and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (dissipation)…but be filled with the Spirit… (Eph.5:18)