Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 June 2022   2 Timothy 2:4.

2 Timothy 2:4.      Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  

Come Sunday morning, we’ll be singing and praising our wonderful God on His day! And that’s just the way it ought to be, believers gathered together, be it physically in a sanctuary, by technological means, or outdoors in the wilds of nature, as my church will be doing today at our annual outdoors church service and picnic in a nearby park, the first for about three years. Now that’s all predicated on the weather staying warm and sunny like it’s been for the last number of days. But knowing how persnickety and contrary the weather can be these days, nothing can be taken for granted. 

And for today’s song of praise, we have an oldie but goldie; one of our long time favourites, aptly titled ‘Onward Christian Soldiers,’ with lyric written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, and the music by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. It’s become one of our ‘favouritest’ processional hymns, but underneath, it bears a strong incentive and encouragement to stand up strong and fight for Christ like we are in His army. So now, let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise in a powerful, scintillating, sincere up-tempo version. 

‘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: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! With the cross of Jesus going on before!’ 

Yes friends, that was indeed rich and scintillating! And I do hope we truly meant every word we sang, and that those words will encourage us to go out today and in the upcoming week to stand strong and steadfast for Christ! Because we are in a war, a spiritual war, as Bruh Paul said 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 (spiritual) to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations (arguments, thoughts), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ (2 Cor. 10:3-5) 

It means, that anything that doesn’t coincide with God’s word, we have to take spiritual authority over it and cast it out with the Lord’s help, because our mind is the battlefield where the spiritual war is being fought. Satan wants to take control of it, but we must use Christ’s power to withstand his evil machinations. That’s why Bruh Paul advised the Ephesians thus: ‘Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil.’ (Eph. 6:10-11) 

Oh my brethren, we desperately need to be armoured up with God’s protection then stand up strong against Satan, for he carefully devises evil schemes and strategies against Christ’s people. And Bruh Paul continues to enlighten the Ephesians on the matter. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (we don’t fight against human beings), but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world (age), against spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you (take up, put on) the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the day, and having done all to stand.’ (Eph. 6:12-13) 

Yes, my fellow saints without God’s armour, Christ’s church cannot fight the spiritual battle against the forces of evil that is currently being waged in our world. And some of you must be wondering what’s this armour of God. Well just like the battle we are fighting, the armour is spiritual. It consists of the loin cloth of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of the gospel peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And then praying always in the Spirit for all the saints. 

Now,  that’s basically God’s spiritual armour, but it’s very effective if we keep it on and use it right. And it’s the only way we are going to win the spiritual battle in which we are currently engaged. We must be good soldiers for Christ if we hope to make any headway against the enemy. 

It’s like Bruh Paul said to Timothy on the subject. ‘Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 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) 

There you have it friends! If we want to be good soldiers of Christ, we cannot afford to get tangled up with the affairs of this world. Remember Jesus expects us to be in the world, but not of the world. It’s not going to be easy, for the life of a soldier is never easy. In our personal discipleship we will suffer affliction and hardship which we need to overcome through the help of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with our spiritual armour and our own conviction in and LOVE for Jesus! And I do hope that our song today will indeed offer us some encouragement in our ongoing battles, both internally and against the evil forces of our evil world. Much LOVE!

… to fight to the death for Jesus…is the believer’s greatest joy…

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   25 February 2022   2 Timothy 2:3.

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

Oh friends, it’s Friday; the last day of the workweek, or as some like to say, the start of the weekend and shout ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!’ But I wonder how many of us shouted that this morning when we awoke to a white, winter wonderland and had to drive through it to work? (smile) 

Yesterday, we were exulting a dry, sunshiny day with no precipitation whatsoever, but during the night the white stuff precipitated, and it’s still precipitating right now! (smile) The weather report says -11degrees Celsius with some snow showers. And this is one of the few times they don’t seem to be wrong. 

But yuh know what mih people, if snow was our biggest problem that would be quite all right, but I heard about a very vexing and worrisome situation yesterday, which seems like a harbinger of times to come. It’s been said that a female member of the Finnish Parliament tweeted out a Bible verse from the Book of Romans talking about the LGBTQ issues in Finland and now is supposedly facing charges that can bring up to two years of jail time. 

That’s not all though. Apparently, a Bishop did the same thing, and now he is also facing up to two years of jail time. The Prosecutor it seems says that the Bible doesn’t trump Finnish law, and you can keep your Bible, but you just can’t say that you agree with it. 

Now my fellow believers that’s certainly madness, and if it’s in Finland, a supposed Western democracy and a place of supposed free speech and disagreements, don’t think it won’t soon get to us on this side of the ocean. The Bible, our faith, is literally on trial here, and we can’t allow that to happen, otherwise all that Jesus and our forefathers suffered and died for would have become a total waste! We simply cannot allow that to happen! 

The embarrassing and unfair thing with these fringe groups who talk so much about their own rights being subjugated, is that when they get their rights acknowledged, they quickly forget where they came from, turn and begin to subjugate the rights of others, behaving as though their platform is the only correct one, and brook no disagreement with it. They begin doing the same thing they had earlier accused others of doing to them. 

Furthermore, it seems they are saying in Finland that the word ‘sin’ can be harmful, and therefore illegal! Imagine that nuh, you can’t talk publicly about the Bible, or sin, which we all commit, but can ramble on about and blatantly commit all the things the Bible tells us are wrong, are sinful. 

My fellow believers, it’s time we throw off our mantle of laxity, of laziness, of compromise and get serious about our faith, because such a situation most definitely threatens the very foundation of our Christian faith, of freedom of speech, the two bulwarks that Western Society were founded on! 

Yesterday, I believe we talked about others in Eastern lands being persecuted for their faith and having to hide and secretly practice it, well, look at what’s soon coming to us at the nearest theatre nuh; the very same thing…that is unless we get up and seriously fight tooth and nail for our freedom of speech and freedom to worship the One and Only true God Jehovah. 

And as mentioned in the clip that I saw, one Holocaust survivor said that the worst crime leading up to the Holocaust was SILENCE! And that’s a fact friends, for when anything negative is happening and a lot of us keep silent, we only embolden the perpetrators. 

Now this a fight for our very way of life, our Christian faith, for the right to worship Jesus Christ in our own land, are we going to stay silent and let it happen without a serious fight? I certainly hope not! It’s time we put on our spiritual armour and with sincere prayer stand up and face the enemy mano-a-mano. There’s absolutely no room for backing down or compromise on this situation my faithful brethren. 

We all talk a good talk about standing up for God, well this is the time for us to walk that talk! As Bruh Paul said to Timothy: ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ (2 Tim. 2:3) Time to do like Bruh Paul did, so we can later say: ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith:’ (2 Tim. 4:7) 

Yes friends, it’s time we live up to the song we so LOVE to sing: ‘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 banners go. At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; On, then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!’ 

The time has finally come my people, for us to put up, or shut up, there’s no more room to run from our problems. So, let’s begin by doing what we ought to do, go to the Lord in prayer, through our Friday Chant, and ask for His divine assistance in these turbulent times. As one confident but humble voice: ‘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, let’s set about being the faithful believers we claim to be. Much LOVE!

…Christ, fought, suffered and died to get His church going…now it’s time for us to do the same…to keep it going… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 May 2021 Ephesians 6:13.

Ephesians 6:13.     ​Wherefore take unto you (take up) the whole armour of God,that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning; time to gather together for a song, a song of praise, worship and thanksgiving! And why not eh, if our eyes have opened to behold God’s great creation called the universe, in which we, mankind are celebrated as His most spectacular creation? Oh, I know the majority of us don’t behave like it, but that doesn’t stop our God from LOVING us with a fierce, true, unconditional heartfelt emotion! And for those of us who do appreciate His thrilling LOVE, it’s only right that we show our gratitude and sing His praises on this His Sabbath Day. 

Now today’s song is most appropriate for these troubled and ungodly times. It’s titled ‘Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus!’ And, oh, how the world is dying to see us do that! But a little background on the song before we burst into praise. The song was written by one George Duffield Jr. (1818-1888) on the inspirational words of his dying Presbyterian preacher colleague, Dudley A. Tyng, who had been a strong anti-slavery advocate in the Philadelphia area. 

It’s reputed that on his deathbed in 1858, from an unfortunate farm accident in which he lost an arm, he was asked by his friends if he had a final message. Tyng replied: ‘Tell them to stand up for Jesus.’ Later on, at Tyng’s memorial service, it’s said that Duffield preached on Ephesians 6:14, and ended his sermon by reading the text of his new hymn, ‘Stand up Stand up for Jesus.’ 

Wow! What an inspiring story! Now, having heard it, let’s raise our hearts, eyes, heads, hands and voices in praiseful worship and sing that awesome song like we truly mean it. And we going to sing it in a rousing reggae riddim, per Miss Carlene Davis, the famous Jamaican Gospel singer. 

Altogether now: ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the cross; lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss: from vict’ry unto vict’ry his army he shall lead, ’til ev’ry foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey; forth to the mighty conflict in this his glorious day: ye that are men now serve him against unnumbered foes; let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose. 

(Chorus: Stand up, stand up, Stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Stand up, stand up, Stand up for Jesus children stand up. Yes we are standing on Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ my saviour, standing on the promises of God. Stand up, stand up, Stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Stand up, stand up, Stand up for Jesus children stand up.) 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in his strength alone; the arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own: put on the gospel armor, each piece put on with pray’r; where duty calls, or danger, be never wanting there. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long; this day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song: to him that overcometh a crown of life shall be; he with the King of glory shall reign eternally. 

(Chorus: Stand up, stand up, Stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Stand up, stand up, Stand up for Jesus children stand up. Yes we are standing on Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ my saviour, standing on the promises of God. Stand up, stand up, Stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Stand up, stand up, Stand up for Jesus children stand up.) 

Oh my fellow believers, that was a marvellous version which had all of heaven dancing and singing. But even more importantly is the urgent need we have to put what we just sang into immediate action down here on earth, because the enemy is running away with the battle while we sit on our fannies. That’s one thing we can learn from the enemy; not to sit on our fannies. Yes, we might have won the eventual battle through Christ, but in the meanwhile we have to keep that victorious spirit moving on down here on earth. We can’t ever let up, because the enemy is serious about trying to take back the ground he lost to Jesus. 

And the good thing about that song is that it’s based on some very encouraging and worthwhile scriptures. Let’s look at a few of them nuh. We have already said that Duffield preached on Eph. 6:14 at Tyng’s Memorial service. And that’s a scripture we all should know very well, as it’s taken from Bruh Paul’s famous writings to the church at Ephesus on the whole spiritual armour of God. And we can see in the second to last stanza where the author refers to the entire portion of the scripture: ‘put on the gospel armour, each piece put on with pray’r; where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.’ 

We’ll just quote the two verses we mentioned. ‘Wherefore take unto you (take up) the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about (girded your waist) with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.’ (Eph. 6:13-14) Yes friends, we are involved in a spiritual battle and we can’t fight it successfully without the armour of God. So we need to put it on, and then stand strong! 

And in the very first verse, the author characterizes us as soldiers in Christ’s army, no doubt referring to Bruh Paul’s exhortation to 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) And Christ has indeed called us to be soldiers in His army. 

Then if we look at the second verse, where the writer says: ‘ye that are men now serve him against unnumbered foes; let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.’ That certainly resembles Bruh Paul’s exhortation to the church at Corinth: ‘Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men (be brave), be strong.’ (1 Cor. 16:13) 

And the last scripture we’ll check out is the one concerning the part of the hymn that says: ‘to him that overcometh a crown of life shall be; he with the King of glory shall reign eternally.’ That seems to come from Revelation 2:10, where Jesus promises: ‘Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried (tested); and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.’ 

Oh my people, what better way to end today’s Bit eh, than by reminding us to stand strong, and endure the temptation and tribulation brought upon us by the enemy, so that at the end, we can have that glorious crown of life so faithfully promised by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Much LOVE!

…the world’s a battlefield…and Christ’s followers…are expected to fight on His behalf…                                                 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 March 2021 2 Timothy 2:3.

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

And then, one more time, it was Friday! Hn! And what does this new day hold for us eh? Only the Good Lord truly knows, but for those who sincerely believe in Him, we do expect good things, like new mercies and compassions, because that’s what He has promised. And remember that He who has promised is faithful, faithful to deliver on ALL of His promises. 

So the expectations of believers should be high for good things to happen in our lives. As the saying goes: ‘Something good is going to happen to me today, and something good is going to happen through me today. Glory be mih bredrin. And it all happens through that magnificent principle called faith; the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (convictions) of things not seen.’ (Heb. 11:1) 

Yes friends, when we believe in Almighty God, creator of the universe and all therein, we can expect good things to happen, and wait with patience and perseverance, that’s hope and faith, for them to happen, regardless of how long they make take to come to fruition! 

Wow! That means never giving up or turning against Christ and each other though the trials and tribulations of this evil world bombard us unmercifully it. For if God is for us, NOBODY, or NOTHING whatsoever, not even the powerful and fearful pandemic, can be successful against us! And with that certainty playing in our minds, (smile) let’s hear what the ordinary workingman has to say today nuh. 

‘Oh brother! Thank God is Friday oui, and I’m another day closer to death, but also closer to work! When is work going to resume eh? When is this lockdown going to end eh, or even relaxed that a body can make a living to feed deh family and keep a roof over deh heads eh? I guess if you believe in God you have to keep living in hope…but let’s hope it’s not like the Jamaican saying, ‘Yuh live in Hope, but end up, die in Constant Spring!’ 

Yeh, hope springs eternal and all that, but with all the confusion that still going on with this pandemic business a lot of people losing hope – in the government, the medical people and God too. How sad the whole thing is, that this li’l virus can bring this great powerful world to its knees in no time at all and cause even more strife than was already present. Steups! I really don’t know what to say nuh, except that I can’t give up hope – ah have three young children to look after, so I just have to do whatever it takes to look after them as best I can, with God’s help.’ 

And yuh know friends, that’s all any of us can really do; our best, and pray, hope, believe that with God’s help it will turn out to be enough. Our world is really in topsy-turvy mode right now, with so much corruption, strife, tension, disagreements and what have you, that no one knows exactly how it will end or turn out, what the new normal will be. 

One thing is for sure, it won’t be like it was before. We will have to learn and deal with a whole lot of new stuff once this pandemic thing has settled down. And those who adapt to the new way of living the quickest, will probably have an edge over those who don’t adapt quickly. But it will be a whole new world, I don’t know if it will be brave though, (smile) but if we believers are in the forefront of it, it will be brave, because that’s all we know how to do,; be brave with Christ as our Lord and Saviour and Leader! 

That means, we believers have to get out there, right in the middle of the fray and fight for Jesus and His kingdom. That’s why Bruh Paul told Timothy: ‘Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship) as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ (2 Tim. 2:1,3) And we need not be afraid of getting out there and mixing it up for Jesus: ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound and disciplined mind.’ (2 Tim. 1:7) 

So we have all the tools to deal with whatever comes against us. So let’s get with it nuh, so that we will be able to say like Bruh Paul did at the end. ‘For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (death) is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all those that LOVE his appearing.’ (2 Tim. 4:6-8) 

And the best way to start that, as with ALL things, is by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving. So what we waiting for eh? Let’s come to God in prayer, though our Friday Chant. Altogether now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. Yuh know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the racial strife causing. We not accustomed to that kind of life Lord, and it really telling on us. And we know we can’t handle it on our own, that 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 sure and 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, so that we can avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. 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!’ 

Onward then Christian soldiers, faithful believers, let’s get out there and handle the situation so that Christ will be revered and venerated above all others and everything else! Much LOVE!

…we believers were made for this time…to show the confused, topsy-turvy world…that only Christ…can bring it peace and LOVE… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 January 2021 2 Timothy 2:3.

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

The Lord’s Day is here again friends, so please let’s do what we ought to; gather in worship, to pray and give thanks, even though it may be technologically driven, due to the pandemic lockdown of our physical sanctuaries. Prayer and worship are the same, however they are done, although actual physical togetherness does lend it a special atmosphere. 

And since the times they are rather rough and unrelenting, with our Christian actions and beliefs becoming more important every day, I figured that today we’d sing a song sure to boost our awareness and reassure us of God’s continuing dependence on our earthly work. It’s a 19thcentury hymn with words written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, and music composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. But it remains one of our popular hymns to this day. We’re talking about the ole favourite ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ 

And the website Godtube explains: ‘It was written to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces throughout the world.’ And oh my people, do we ever need encouragement right now, because the battles are certainly long and hard, but if we stand strong like good soldiers of Christ, we will eventually overcome. In fact, Christ has already won the victory, we just need to maintain it. So, let’s do as the author of Hebrews instructs us nuh: ‘By him (through Jesus) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name (openly confessing His name.’ (Heb. 13:15) 

And today we doing a Sally Anne (Salvation Army) processional rendition, for they have adopted it as their favoured processional. In full voice, and soldierly marching tone: ‘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. And so we sing: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before…With the cross of Jesus going on before…’ 

Yes friends, that was tough and strong, like real soldiers marching out to battle with Christ, our Field General, with His cross at the front of the battle line! And please believe that we are in a war, sometimes physical, but most of the time it’s spiritual. As Bruh Paul said to the Ephesians. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world (age), against spiritual (hosts of) wickedness in high places.’ (Eph. 6:12) 

Ah mih people, the enemy and his evil forces are all over the spiritual world trying to wrest us from the hands of Christ. And though they have some power, they have no real authority over us, unless we allow them to invade our space. But to successfully withstand the enemy, we need to do as Bruh Paul says: ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ (Eph. 6:10) This spiritual war will last until Christ returns, therefore we need to be continuously and constantly strengthened by the Lord’s mighty power. 

And as soldiers we also need physical accessories. That means we also need to ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’ (Eph. 6:11) A sense of urgency is noted there my brethren, and it demands immediate attention. No good soldier would go into battle without armour, and we have God’s spiritual armour to fight this one and stand strong against the evil schemes of the enemy. 

In short, it consists of our loins girded about with truth, topped by the breastplate of righteousness, while our feet are comfortably shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and we are holding forth the shield of faith to reject the fiery arrows of the wicked enemy. On our heads lie the helmet of salvation, and in our strong right hands we wield the mighty sword of the Spirit, which is the word of our omnipotent God! (Eph. 6:14-17) 

Glory be mih brethren! What mighty armour we have! But despite the great armour, one more thing is essential, that’s prayer! We can’t win without prayer! Please let’s remember that, cause prayer is the lifeblood between the Father and us. (Eph. 6:18) However, now that we have the protection, we still need something else. And I guess you’re wondering what that is nuh? Oh fellow Christians, it’s the one thing that all soldiers ought to have: bravery! You can’t go into battle in a cowardly manner and expect to win. 

That’s why Bruh Paul warned Timothy, re the toughness needed to win our spiritual battle.‘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 soldier.’ (2 Tim. 2:3-4) And that’s oh so true! Soldiers must be able to withstand tough times, and not get entangled in the affairs of the world, so they can give their all to the one who chose them. And in our case, that’s Jesus Christ. 

Oh friends, if there’s one thing we can’t say about our Leader, Lord and Saviour is that He was a weakling! He was strong like an ox; physically, emotionally and mentally. He had to be to withstand the ‘sufferation’ He endured on our behalf. Now are we going to cry and whimper when He needs us to stand strong on His behalf now, especially after He’s given us all the tools to do so? God forbid that we chicken out on Him now, although that’s what many of us are doing. 

This pandemic though is making a lot of people have second thoughts because they see that nothing we’re doing is working to stem the deadly tide, and God is the only avenue left to turn to. So there’s yet hope. Let’s build on that hope nuh my fellow saints and soldiers in Christ, starting today,RIGHT NOW! Let’s show the enemy that we have the parts, the backbone and belly to stand up as one, united, faithful, steadfast and strong for Christ!Much LOVE!

…none of us alone…is as good as…all of us together… 

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…