Today’s Scrip-Bit   19 June 2022 Ephesians 6:4.

Ephesians 6:4.      ‘And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture (training) and admonition of the Lord.’

HAPPY  FATHER’S  DAY!​

Well, Happy Father’s Day greetings to all us fathers, be we good, bad or indifferent! (smile) The Good Book does say that the father is the head of the household, the leader, the spiritual guide and should be a good example to his children as he raises them in accordance with godly principles. In the words of Bruh Paul to the Ephesians. ‘And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture (training) and admonition of the Lord.’ (Eph. 6:4) 

Yes friends, fathers have an immense responsibility in rearing children and leading a household. As the scholars say, we must not provoke our children to wrath through things like ‘injustice, loss of temper, undue severity, cruelty, favouritism, suppression, sarcasm, ridicule, and misuse of authority.’ 

Brother! No wonder many men run away from that kind of awesome responsibility. It is indeed a lot to handle. And on top of all that we have to teach them about the Lord; rear them in proper LOVE and reverence to the Lord God Jehovah. Do as Joshua did, let it be unconditionally known; ‘but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ (Josh. 24:15d) A father should also be ‘One who ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.’ (1 Tim. 3:4) That means managing his family in the right way, making sure that the children learn obedience in a dignified manner. 

Wow! The good thing about it all though my fellow fathers, is that once we embark on the right track, the Lord helps us to run our families and raise our children. He just doesn’t leave us in a vacuum; tell us to make sure we do this or that and raise them according to His Word, then disregard us and leave us to rear them on our own. As true believers we ought to know that’s not how our wonderful God operates. Whatever He asks or expects of us, He also enables, gives us the tools to accomplish the task. 

Unfortunately though, in today’s world where God is no longer recognized as being a very important part of our lives, many fathers don’t have the knowledge they need to carry out their responsibilities, or just don’t care, or are not living with their children, and thus the family, the smallest and most important group, the foundation unit of our society is sadly falling apart, leading to the malfunctioning and degradation of society as a whole. Yes friends, when the smallest part of an organism or organization is being ruined, it’s not long before the whole edifice collapses. 

And yes, women do a fantastic job of keeping families together, but they can’t do it all by themselves, they need a male partner to help, if the job is to be done properly. And, unfortunately, it’s the children who suffer the most from these broken or dysfunctional homes. And since the males don’t have a decent example of what fatherhood ought to be, they continue in the same dysfunctional manner when raising their families. How many of us fathers are like Job eh? 

The Good Book says: ‘And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about (his children’s feasting was over), that Job sent and sanctified them (set them apart, consecrated them), and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, it may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually (regularly).’ (Job 1:5) Isn’t that beautiful my people. Job knew the value of continually praying for his children. How many of us fathers do that nowadays eh? Not enough. 

And yes, like this week we’re having the sermon before we get with the praise and worship. (smile) But that’s just how the spirit moved me this morning. But let’s get to today’s song, one that we all know and LOVE. It’s titled ‘My Hope is built on nothing less,’ written by the British Baptist minister Edward Mote (1797-1874). Oh, I know it’s an old song, but that just attests to its staying power, because it deals with assurance and refuge, of strength and a solid foundation that we find only in Christ Jesus, which I believe is a good sentiment for we fathers to seek this Father’s Day. 

So, let’s offer up our scintillating sacrifices of praise in a joyful mid-tempo version, letting our sincerity pour out of both our mouths and our hearts. In perfect unison and harmony, let’s sing: ‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. (Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.) 

When darkness veils his lovely face I rest on His unchanging grace In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil. (Refrain) His oath, his covenant, his blood Supports me in the ‘whelming flood When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. (Refrain) Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move; I rest upon unchanging LOVE. I trust his righteous character, his counsel, promise, and his pow’r. [Refrain] 

When he shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in him be found, dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand… On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand… Oh thank You Lord…You solid Rock!’ 

Now didn’t that make you feel reenergized and reassured? It ought to…if you were sincere in your vocalizing. (smile) And it’s been said that the song was based on Jesus words from Matthew 7, as He winds down the Sermon on the Mount. It’s a story we all know about the two foundations. ‘Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a (the) rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded up a (the) rock.’ (Matt. 7:24-25) 

Yes mih bredrin, wisdom dictates than when we hear the teachings of Jesus that we build our lives and that of our families on Him, because He is the ROCK! A sure place of refuge for all and sundry! Where you are never turned away or left to die on your own. No one else can offer what Jesus offers, so please let’s wake up and heed His urgent call nuh, especially we fathers, for our children, our families and our society as whole are suffering because we are not doing our bounden duty to lead them in a righteous manner in Christ Jesus. Please. I implore us to let today be a serious and sincere turning point in our lives! Much LOVE!

…no other foundation but Jesus…will withstand the battering evil forces of the world… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 April 2021 Matthew 7:24.

Matthew 7:24.     ​Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a (the) rock.

So here we go again, another Sunday of virtual gathering. But the important thing is that we gather, not the how or where we do it. The Lord just wants us to gather however we can and celebrate His day, to give Him thanks and praise for all that He’s done for us this past week, and renew our confidence that He will keep on looking after us in the upcoming week. So, if the earthly powers that be say we can’t gather in large groups under one roof or mango tree, then, being the ingenious people we are, we will gather virtually. (smile) We can’t hug and kiss and shake hands, but we can do most of the other things necessary for worship. 

As always then, let’s begin with a song of praise, something to lively up both heaven and earth, this cloudy spring morning. (smile) Today’s hymn was written by British Baptist minister, Edward Mote (1797-1874) and it’s one of our favourites. Oh brother, do we have many favourites! And why not eh, since they are all celebrating the goodness and glory of our great God? 

Anyway, enough suspense, our hymn is titled ‘My Hope is built on nothing less.’ And is that ever the awesome truth friends! Our hope is indeed built on Christ Jesus and NO ONE, or nothing else. So let’s sing it like we truly mean it nuh, in harmony, loud and clear, at a nice up-tempo speed. 

Altogether now: ‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. (Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.) When darkness veils his lovely face I rest on His unchanging grace In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil. (Refrain) His oath, his covenant, his blood Supports me in the ‘whelming flood When all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay. 

(Refrain) Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move; I rest upon unchanging LOVE. I trust his righteous character, his counsel, promise, and his pow’r. [Refrain] When he shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in him be found, dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.’ 

What a magnificent rendition my people! All heaven was singing along with us, including the Father. He’s usually the first to join in whenever anyone is singing praises to His awesome Son, for He’s a very proud Father! What makes me chuckle though, is how Jesus sits there on His throne, quietly tapping His feet and nodding His head to the music, with that shy, boyish smile on His handsome face, somewhat embarrassed by all the praise. 

But that’s why we LOVE and adore Him so much. Despite all the honour and glory the Father has bestowed on Him, all the accolades He’s received down through the ages, He’s still the same down to earth, unassuming person He’s always been. That doesn’t mean to say He’s a pushover, as the wicked will find out when He comes back the second time, but He’s like the real great men of earth who know their power and don’t need to flaunt it. 

And what was Brother Mote trying to tell or instill in us when he wrote those wonderful words so long ago eh? I think it’s basically that Jesus is the everlasting hope, the assurance, the refuge, the best place to find solace and comfort in this crazy, sinful world. And that’s the indisputable truth friends! Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can sincerely offer us the comfort that we so desperately need in these rather trying and difficult times. Remember His Great Invitation? ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matt. 11:28) Well He can truly do that! 

Furthermore, His selfless sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, paid the price for our sins, and thus puts us in His eternal debt. Oh friends, the blood of Jesus is ever so powerful, it enacted the New Covenant and made blood sacrifices obsolete. His death stopped us from being slaves to sin and Satan, and His resurrection caused us to have new life in the family of God. Yes friends, Jesus is the best foundation on which to build one’s life. Brother Mote said it nicely in our song: ‘Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move; I rest upon unchanging LOVE. I trust his righteous character, his counsel, promise, and his pow’r.’ What better foundation to build on eh my brethren? NONE! 

Jesus said it this way, when He spoke about the two foundations on which we can build our lives. ‘Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a (the) rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a (the) rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.’ (Matt. 7:24-27) 

And the scholars offer this explanation on those verses. ‘7:24-27. In drawing His concluding illustration of the two foundations, Jesus begins with the word Therefore. On the basis of all that He has taught and illustrated, He concluded that all who both hear and do His sayings shall be saved. As a great Master Counselor, Jesus reminded His listener that hearing this message alone will not change his life. He must both hear and do what Jesus has said. 

The elements of the closing illustration are drawn from the simplicity of nature itself, the rock, the rain, and the winds. The man whose house collapsed was at fault, not because he failed to labour, but because he did not lay the proper foundation. The shifting sand represents human opinion and the doctrines of men as opposed to “these sayings.” 

Now, we all know that the most important aspect of building anything is the foundation. If the foundation is strong, whatever edifice we erect will stand the test of time and nature. But if the foundation is not up to scratch, then the edifice will eventually tumble down when it comes up against powerful forces. Likewise, in life, there is no doubt that Christ is the best foundation for us to build our lives on, for He is strong and steady, steadfast and solid, impenetrable and immovable, like a rock; the rock of all ages! Much LOVE!

…what’s your foundation built on…the rock…or the shifting sand…  

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