Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 September 2019 1 Timothy 2:3.

1 Timothy 2:3.    ​Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
 

Sunday’s here again friends! Glory be! It’s the day we cease from our normal labour and instead visit the Lord’s sanctuary and have fellowship with other believers! Yes mih people, it’s time for us to sing and dance and praise the Lord and give Him sincere thanks for the many blessings He’s so magnanimously bestowed on us! Wow! What a wonderful God He is! There’s none other like Him! That’s for certain sure!

That’s why we need to show our true LOVE and sincere gratitude by coming together as the body of Christ, His church, at least once a week! And not only do we offer up praise and thanksgiving, but we are renewed and refreshed in return, through hearing His Word and the encouragement of and communion with our fellow believers, so that we can go out and do His work with vim and vigour this upcoming week.

Now let’s get the show on the road by opening, as always, with a song of praise and worship. And today’s number is certainly an old but still very popular number titled ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ And I hear the excited sigh that rises from our throats as the song registers, because it is one we all LOVE to sing! So let’s sing it nuh, with plenty emotion, strong voice and the sweetest of harmonies!

All together now: ‘Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle, see his banner go! (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before!) At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; On, then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise! [Refrain]

Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod; We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. [Refrain] Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng, Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song; Glory, laud, and honor, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. [Refrain 2]’

Oh friends, oh friends, what a powerful and emotionally touching rendition! Heaven could see that we truly believed what we were singing, felt it right down in the very depths of our souls! That’s what some of these old English hymns do to us. Now it’s reputed that the words to that song were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, while the music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. And has it ever stood the test to time! Becoming the Salvation Army’s favoured processional hymn along the way.

Apparently ‘it was written to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces of the world.’ And it takes its theme from New Testament references of Christians being soldiers for Christ. One example of that is our Bit, Bruh Paul’s famous words to his young protégé Timothy. ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’ (2 Tim.2:3-4)

Yeh friends as Christians we do need to stand up strong under whatever trials and tribulation comes against us, like a good soldier does. Consequently, that soldier doesn’t get involved with the unnecessary affairs of life, so that he can give his all, his total allegiance and attention to the business of the one who’s chosen him to be a soldier. That means, since Christ has chosen us to be His followers, then we too must endure the tribulation that will certainly come against us, as Christ promised in John 16:33, and neither get involved in the affairs of this world because we are not of it, as He says in John 17:16.

And the analogy of Christians being soldiers in Christ’s army is rather apt, since we are constantly fighting battles of temptation and deceit against Satan and his evil minions. However it’s not a physical battle, although many believers are fighting physical battles in many places in our strife-filled world, but it’s a spiritual battle that most believers face day by day. As Bruh Paul says to the Corinthians: ‘For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after (according to) the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations (arguments), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ;’ (2 Cor.10:3-5)

And the scholars offer these explanations of those verses. ‘10:3-5. Though we walk (live) in the flesh (in a body), we do not war (fight) after (according to) the flesh (human standards. The first phrase of verse 5 looks back to verse 3 and expresses the manner in which believers conduct spiritual warfare. It is by casting down (destroying) imaginations (false arguments), such as Paul’s opponents have raised.’

That also means refuting all the lies and deceit and the temptations the enemy constantly throws at us. And we do that by taking all those wrong thoughts captive and making them conform to Christ’s Word. Remember, our minds are where the serious spiritual battles take place, so we obviously must have our thoughts conform to Christ’s Word to be victorious. And as I was reading the words of the hymn just now, one verse struck me as being somewhat untrue in these evil, divisive times. ‘Like a mighty army moves the church of God;…We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.’

I just have to shake my head and sadly chuckle because God’s church is certainly not moving in these ungodly days like a mighty army, more like a stagnant, sluggish, complacent, uninterested band of layabouts. And as to being one body with one hope and one doctrine…What a joke! Christ’s church has never been more divided and fractured and going different ways than now!

But friends, let’s remember that where there’s life there’s also hope, so it’s not too late. If we’re serious about rectifying the ills in the church we still can, if we come together, instead of moving further apart. It will take a lot of hard work and effort, putting our selfish, petty desires aside, and showing the true character of Christ. I know it sounds impossible, but remember too, that ALL things are possible with Christ! Much LOVE!

…to be true soldiers of Christ…Christians must stop seeking and seeing life…the way the world sees it…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 August 2018 Romans 12:18.

Romans 12:18.   If it be possible, as much as lieth in (depends on) you, live peaceably with all men.

‘Awright, awright…it’s Saturday and you want to sleep in…so who’s stopping you eh?’ the husband angrily declares from his perch on the couch. The wife shakes her head and looks at him in amazement. ‘Yuh really bold face enough to ask that question?’ she finally shouts. ‘Yes, ah bold face enough to ask it, so why don’t you answer it eh?’ he retorts. 

‘Well lemme tell yuh why ah can’t sleep in on a Saturday morning: first of all it have laundry to do; then there’s groceries to be made. You want to chock your tail full of food, but you’d never say let me face the store and buy some. Then there’s the children to look after…and this humongous house to clean…’ 

‘Whoa, whoa there mih lovely…’ the husband cuts in. ‘Doh tell me nothing about humongous house nuh! Remember I was quite comfortable in the li’l two be four apartment. But it was you an yuh high flying ideas, who wanted the big house, who wanted to keep up with the Joneses. So don’t tell me no nonsense about house too big to clean now nuh…’ 

Ah friends, it sounds humorous when you read it, but it certainly isn’t. Steups! In how many houses are those kinds of arguments repeated each week eh? Way too many! And after a while they only cause strife and resentment between the partners and allows the enemy to creep in and spoil the show. That’s definitely not what we need my brethren. 

Remember one of the acclamations I included in the recent list was one that says: ‘I WILL NOT tolerate strife in my life!’ It’s oh so important that we don’t, and somehow or the other we have to find ways to not let it foment in our households and lives. The only serious way to handle it is to take it prayerfully and humbly to Jesus! But remember you still have to do your part to avoid or lessen it, because it takes two to cause strife. 

Anyhow, later for this strife business. It’s Saturday, so let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. First up is this: ‘If you try, you risk failure. If you don’t, you ensure it.’ There is some truth to that friends, for it’s only when you try something that you can fail. And if you don’t try, then you still fail, because you haven’t tried. (smile) Not trying is considered failure. 

And the next quote tells us: ‘You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one.’ That should be obvious. If we keep looking back at our past life, we’ll never be able to move ahead with the bigger, brighter and more beautiful one that Jesus has planned for us. 

That brings us to ‘Don’t be ashamed of your story it will inspire others.’ And that’s no lie my brethren! Just look at the shady, deceitful and disgraceful characters the Lord used in the Bible to do His great works? Check out Jacob, the swindler; Matthew the tax collector; Bruh David the murderer and adulterer; and Bruh Paul the murderer! Their stories have all been told to inspire us in one way or another. And so will ours be to others. 

And the final quote says: ‘Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.’ And that’s the gospel truth friends! There’s no day that’s completely bad! There’s always something good in it to redeem it, even if it’s just the fact that we’re alive. That means we have the awesome hope, that living and working for Jesus will make tomorrow a better day. So brighten up, remember ALL things are possible with and through Jesus! 

That brings us back to the matter of strife in our lives and our Bit, the wise words of Bruh Paul to the church at Rome.‘If it be possible, as much as lieth in (depends on) you, live peaceably with all men.’ That includes women too! (smile) 

Ah mih breddren, just look at our world nuh; it’s just strife filled all over. It’s so much easier to pinpoint the areas where there’s little or no strife than the ones with a whole lot. And if the world is strife-filled, then it’s only logical to assume that a lot of our homes and individual lives will also be strife-filled. But that’s not the life that the Lord planned for any of us. 

Listen to how Cousin Sol puts it in Proverbs. ‘Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no wrong.’ (Prov.3:30) But there’s so much strife that’s’ flying around that has no real basis for it? Too much! 

And Cousin Sol also gives us this bit of wisdom in Proverbs on the subject. ‘He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.’ And oh, so many of us meddle in affairs that don’t concern us! We have an opinion on everything and everyone, although we don’t know the half of the story. 

But friends, like 3 Canal said so long ago in their song: ‘If you don’t have no business, then get some business, and stop minding other people’s business nuh!’ Words to live by mih bredden! 

And we’ll end with these wise words from Hebrews: ‘Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ (Heb.12:14) Ah friends, with those wise words in mind, let’s begin today to rid our lives of strife and live as peacefully as we can with everybody. Our Leader Jesus, is known as the Prince of Peace, so how can we, His followers be strife makers eh? Much LOVE!

…strife in our lives…is like yeast in bread…it causes the negativity to rise up…