Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 October 2019 Proverbs 16:32.

Proverbs 16:32.   ​He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

 

Yeah, it’s Friday! And though the sun is struggling to get out from under the cloud cover, there is joy in the land, simply because it’s Friday and the workweek is ending! Thus, there are many ‘Praise the Lord’s!’ both sincere and insincere, (smile) ringing out from all parts of the world. And there’s none louder than that of the ordinary workingman, who never shies away from expressing his true feelings. 

And today, he shouts: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! What a week it’s been! I ate and drank and partied so much this past Thanksgiving weekend, that I was truly sick come Tuesday and couldn’t go to the slave master’s work. Obviously he tried to give me a hard time when I showed up on Wednesday, but I just ignored him, because I have my sick time rights and this one was certainly legitimate. He feels that nobody should ever book off sick, because he loses money when they do. 

But when he books off sick is okay though, because he’s the boss… Chuh! Just forget the li’l greedy man yes! And yuh better believe this weekend is going to be strictly rest! I like mih food and drinks, but not to the extent that I want them to get me sick. I surely hope I learn mih lesson this time yes. Thank God for Fridays and weekends oui!’ 

Ah friends, yuh see what happen when we overdo it? Unwanted consequences usually come back to haunt us. As Uncle Charles (Dr. Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘You reap what you sow; more than you sow, and later than you sow.’ And that’s the gospel truth! It holds in all situations in life! So let’s turn now to our Friday Chant nuh, which isn’t as verbose and in your face as the workingman’s song, but does do the trick for us believers. 

All together in true sincerity now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

Yes, we do need to be careful how we operate, because the enemy, like the roaring, toothless lion that he is, is always lurking around seeking ways to get into our lives and create havoc. And I have a very good testimony on that point to share. This morning as I was getting ready to write the Bit, my trusty desktop computer began playing the fool. It just would not access the Internet after booting up. 

And as the Lord would have it, I opened the Good Book and began flipping pages and just happened to stop in Proverbs 16…no I don’t think that just happened nuh, because the Word that I read plainly said: ‘He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.’  

That was certainly more than mere coincidence, because every time I turned my computer off and on, and got no progress, I could feel the anger rising up in me and I wanted to give it a few good thumps. But with that scripture staring me straight in the face, and knowing that the Lord, or the enemy was testing my resolve, I managed to not thump it, and it did behave properly after the fifth or sixth time of turning it on and off. 

I believe the Lord saved me though, because I’m pretty sure that I would have thumped it if I had had to go through the annoying rigmarole one more time. (smile) So I passed the test…but just barely. And that’s the way this earthly life is my faithful brethren. Life just likes to test us, to muddy our waters and see how we react. 

Sometimes it’s the Lord, other times it’s the enemy. But whoever or whatever causes us to find ourselves between a rock and hard place, we need to be able to bring up scripture written indelibly in our souls, bodies and minds, to help us handle them in a godly and sensible manner. And today we just going to check out a few of those scriptures that we need to have as our bedrock, our fortification against unnecessary anger. 

Hear Cousin Sol earlier on: ‘He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit (impulsive) exalteth folly.’ (Prov.14:29) And that’s certainly no lie, as many of us have found out over the years. And just recently we featured these immortal verses from Bruh Paul to the Ephesians. 

‘Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.’ (Eph.4:31-32) Words of eternal wisdom my brethren! 

Meanwhile James adds his two-cents worth thus: ‘Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not (does not produce) the righteousness of God.’ (James 1:19-20) And if you’re a true believer, you ought to know that. But listen to the scholars’ explanation anyway. 

‘1:19. This is a key verse because it expresses three topics that James develops later: hearing, verses 19-27; speaking, 3:1-12; and wrath, 4:1-12.’ ‘1:20. Trials require silence and patience because talk inflames anger, and anger inflames talk. Anger also distracts from listening to God.’ I hope we all hear that friends: anger distracts us from listening to God, and when we don’t listen to God, we go astray and end up suffering severe consequences. 

And here are some final words on the subject from Cousin Sol once again. ‘The discretion of a man deferreth his anger (makes him slow to anger); and it is his glory to pass over (overlook) a transgression.’ (Prov.19:11) Awright mih people, there’s the ammunition to fight the battle against anger, let’s go out and put it to good use now nuh! It’s Jesus’ desire for all His followers. Much LOVE!

…be ye angry…and sin not…let not the sun…go down upon your wrath… (Eph.4:26)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 November 2018 Psalm 16:9.

Psalm 16:9.   Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest (dwell securely) in hope.
 
So now it’s Thursday, the penultimate day of the workweek… and there are smiles and hand shakes and hugs amongst workers, unlike earlier on in the week, because they know that there is only one more day to go before the weekend break, so the tension and frustration has lessened some. And it’s also Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. of A, so that means no work for many people, lots of food and travel and celebration! 

Happy Thanksgiving U.S. of A! I do hope you all sincerely give thanks for all the blessings that the Good Lord has bestowed on you, although I know that some of His wrath is also upon your head right now because of your awful sinful ways. But He’s such a wonderful Deity that if you will only return to Him and His fold, you will find forgiveness a plenty. 

Please remember that no other nation in the History of mankind has ever been as powerful and prosperous as yours, and that’s because you were truly blessed by the Lord when you walked mostly in His will and commandment, and He is the one who causes us to get things and become prosperous. 

But now you, and a whole lot of us have turned away, strayed from His ever-LOVING arms, and consequently we are experiencing some rather rough times in all areas of our lives, all over the world. Our planet is degenerating more quickly than we can keep up with. 

And that brings us to the body of today’s message; a lesson in HOPE from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) a collage from several days readings in His Hour of Power Devotional. And do we ever need to have loads of HOPE in these turbulent and oh so trying times! 

We’ll begin with this: ‘HOPE. It is a marvellous, mysterious mood that comes into your personality. Suddenly your load is lifted, colour returns to your skin, and your eyes get their sparkle back. What is it? It is a scientific experience of the presence of God operating in your personality…

When it happens in the personality, it can only be scientifically described as the presence of a God of LOVE coming into your mind, your spirit, your body, your personality! This is God! This is HOPE!’ 

Yes my fellow believers, that’s the first thing we need to know…HOPE comes from God! Now hear this: ‘The only thing between today and tomorrow is tonight. And that’s when the stars come out! So NEVER give up on HOPE! Don’t drop the curtain on tomorrow….

Great people are ordinary people who just will not give up HOPE! And what is HOPE? It is Holding On, Praying Expectantly!’ Wow friends! I hope you notice how Gramps Schuller spells out HOPE through the first letter of each word. (smile) 

Now the last piece for today: ‘You need HOPE when…you’re dying. And you need HOPE in all of your living. There will be no LOVE without it. HOPE is what will keep your faith alive. That’s why HOPE is right in the middle of the holy trinity of human emotions, “FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE!” 

Yes my fellow believers, HOPE is the very bedrock of our human existence! Without it, we can’t have faith nor LOVE, it’s what gets us going in the first place, and keeps us going, keeps us holding on, because we know that once there’s life, once there’s the breath of God in our bodies, there’s HOPE! Now let’s see what Bit we can find that’s most appropriate for all of that. Soon come! 

I’m back…a minute later. (smile) I guess these awesome words of Bruh David says it all. ‘I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest (dwell securely) in hope.

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (the abode of the dead); neither wilt thou suffer (allow) thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures evermore.’ (Ps.16:8-11) 

Oh friends, I can only present to you the goodness and LOVE and HOPE that rests in God, you have to make the very important decision, the most important decision in your life, whether or not you’ll accept it. So there it is, in black and white…please be wise and accept it, for if you don’t you’ll eventually have to endure the worst situation man can suffer; everlasting separation from Almighty God! 

And as true believers here’s what you get to enjoy down here on earth; we call it our Thursday Blessings. Let’s declare it loud and proud: (awright…spelled it right there) ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and share them with others, as Jesus desires. That’s what blessings are for! Much LOVE!

…a blessing is not a blessing…until you speak it over others…and share your God-given largesse with them…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 February 2018 Psalm 90:12.

Psalm 90:12.    So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (gain a heart of wisdom.)

Oh what a beautiful day this Monday will be in most of North America friends! Yes, that’s because it’s a public holiday. In the U.S. it’s the Presidents Day, honouring its Presidents. And in most of Canada it’s being celebrated as Family Day, although a few provinces call it by a different name. 

So that means it’s been a long weekend, with NO WORK today for many of us, but ample time to party and/or rest, whichever catches our fancy. (smile) Thank the Lord that we don’t have to get up and join the rat race today! 

But you know that our society has become such that it never really shuts down, it can’t afford to if we want to live our current lifestyle, so on public  holidays some people always have to go to work while others enjoy a pleasurable day off. Yeh, life’s not fair, but God is good! 

Consequently, or rather, especially on a day like this, we need to sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn to quell any jealousy and resentment that might arise in the spirits of our fellow believers who have to go out and labour today, while we remain at home and enjoy the good life. So let’s belt it out now in our strongest and most harmonious voice. 

‘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!’ 

Hn, hn! Ah friends, the voices might have been strong, but rather hoarse and definitely not harmonious. But Jesus understands, He knows the state of our hearts…and our livers. (smile) And as always, it’s the ones who are not going to work who are the loudest and most disharmonious. I wonder why eh?

I just hope that our unfortunate brethren who have to work today have been well fortified by our singing and that the adrenaline is flowing through their bodies, making them eager to go out and fight the good fight of faith in Jesus’ name.  

And as for those of us who are staying at home, please be responsible, remember Granny’s warning: ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober, please mind your business.’ That’s because we don’t want to give the enemy a chance to get into our spirits, and we will have to go out to work tomorrow, and if we’re all tired out and mashed up from too much celebration today, we’ll be of not much use to Jesus then. So remember, exhibit a modicum of circumspection, for it will serve you in good stead in the long run. End of sermon!  

And as I was looking for an appropriate Bit, this verse from Moses’ Psalm caught my eye. ‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (gain a heart of wisdom.)’ Now here I’m taking Moses’ words literally, wanting to know how long our lives will be. 

But that is something we’ll never know until the fateful day arrives. That means we have to be smart and live wisely every day! If we knew when our time would be up, many of us would choose to live carnal and worldly lives until just before we leave, then come running to God for forgiveness. But that’s not possible, so if we want to end up in heaven with Jesus, we have to live right, RIGHT NOW, since He can call us home at any moment in time. 

Bruh David also sought to know his end, in Psalm 39 – A prayer for self-understanding. ‘Lord make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.’ (Ps. 39:4) Yeh friends, in terms of the big picture of the universe, we are indeed frail. 

And Bruh David continues: ‘Behold thou hast made my days as a handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best is altogether vanity (vapour).    Selah. Surely every man walketh in a vain show (as a shadow); surely they are disquieted in vain (make an uproar for nothing): he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.’ (Ps.39:5-7) 

And isn’t all of that the living truth my people? It surely is! Our lives are vapour- like, here today and gone tomorrow. We pile up riches not knowing  who is going to waste them away. And like Moses declares of God: ‘For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.’ (Ps.90:4) A thousand years to God is like one day to us. Hn! That just goes to show how flimsy our lives are, especially in comparison to God. 

So having noted all of that, what’s our next move eh? Like Bruh David says: ‘And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.’ (Ps.39:7)  Oh friends, that’s wisdom at its zenith, so please, let’s be wise and do it nuh. Much LOVE!

…hope in God…should be the bedrock…the very foundation of our lives…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 January 2018 Acts 8:35.

Acts 8:35.   Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

And the week and the year are rolling along like a downhill snowball. It’s already Wednesday, and we’re also into the tenth day of the new year. Time certainly is waiting for no one. 

And neither are the natural disasters, as they continue to roll along. Check out the 7.6 earthquake in Honduras a couple of days ago, and the mudslides that have killed some thirteen people in California after wicked rainstorms hit the scenic area that had already been ravaged by recent wildfires. 

Ah Lord eh! We can’t give up though friends, we have to keep keeping on despite those setbacks. But we do have to help however we can, especially with prayers. And in the face of these disasters, I believe it’s the ideal time be reminded of one of the most important facts in this world, and to acknowledge it with sure certainty. (smile)

And that fact is: ‘GOD LOVES ME!’ It’s gospel truth my brethren, and cannot be altered. Please pray this prayer with me from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional that bears the above title. 

‘Thank you, Lord, for this holy sentence, this good news, this happy report, this exciting thought, this graceful truth, this fantastic lesson. God LOVES me! Even when I’m at my worst – God LOVES me. Even when my faith is dim – God LOVES me anyway! It’s incomprehensible and fantastic! Thank you, Father. Amen.’ 

Oh my people, God’s great LOVE for us might be incomprehensible, but we don’t have to understand it, just accept it for the great truth that it is! So even if we don’t remember or learn anything else today, let’s solidify that truth in our hearts and souls today nuh, because that’s where everything begins. 

God first LOVED us, and to such a degree, that even when we were still sinners, He sent His Son Jesus to die for us. That ought to say a lot to Christians, for no other faith has anything even close to resembling that awesome fact. And the added fact that God LOVES us in any state, wherever we are, should indeed raise our reverence and LOVE for Him. 

And as a direct consequence of that awesome LOVE, Bruh Paul is able to ask this enormous question in our Bit. ‘Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ 

What a striking question my people! And hear how Bruh Paul answers it nuh. ‘As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us. 

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Acts 8:36-39) 

Mama Mia! What surety emanates from Bruh Paul on the subject my friends! He is certain sure that NOTHING whatsoever can separate us from the LOVE of God which flows down to us through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And he’s quite right! 

But friends, are we each individually sure of that? I don’t know. But I do know that until that idea is written in stone in our consciousness, our faith will never be as great as it should be, because that’s the foundation stone of our faith: God’s LOVE is inalterable and everlasting. Once you receive it, it can never be taken away from you. 

That’s why they say that once you receive the faith of Christ and the Holy Spirit comes to live within you, you are sealed until eternity. Glory to God! Once your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, it shall not be removed, unless you turn away from God and become the devil’s advocate instead. 

So friends, today, let’s be wise and build our faith on that solid bedrock, that solid foundation that’s Christ nuh, for it is eternal wisdom. And having taking in all of that, let’s go home now declaring our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know about our amazing position with Jesus. 

In all sincerity and truth now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. 

My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And it will indeed be a glorious future my brethren, for as the Good Book says: ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that LOVE him.’ (! Cor.2:9) Much LOVE!

…only fools…will deign to refuse…God’s great and unconditional LOVE…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 April 2015 Psalm 22:9 ‏‏‏‏‏

Psalm 22:9.   But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope (caused me to trust) when I was upon my mother’s breast.

Ah Friends, it’s Monday morning once again and the soaring sound of the trumpet is calling us to the battle lines, where our fearless and omnipotent General Jesus Christ is there waiting for us. And I must reiterate that our wonderful Leader always goes before us! He takes His role as a leader to heart and leads. He doesn’t follow, as so many other inferior generals do. 

And all God’s people loudly declared: ‘All praise to God for our marvellous Leader Jesus Christ! He is indeed the finest and fairest Leader in all the universe!’
 
And having said that Friends, let’s sing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with much gusto, harmony and sincerity to boost our spirits before we hit the road.
 
Like one heavenly choir now, let’s sing: ‘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!’
 
That was pretty good Friends because we paid attention to the direction of the wonderful choirmaster, Jesus. Now let’s see if we can pay the same attention to Him out on the battlefield that’s the workday world and thus do as good a job in His name.
 
But yuh know what Friends? It all begins with that marvellous, magical, miraculous emotion termed HOPE; which, when mixed with belief, becomes the elixir called faith, which just grows and grows and grows, regardless of the circumstances or situations. Ah mih people HOPE is an innate instinct that we’re born with; our Creator provides us with it from birth. 
 
That’s why Bruh David could justify his hope, faith and everlasting trust in the God of his fathers with the words of our Bit. ‘But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope (caused me to trust) when I was upon my mother’s breast.’  
 
Yesterday we looked at some scripture passages that dealt with HOPE, today we’re going to do the same. And my people God’s word is so chocked full of passages on HOPE, in all different kinds of situations, that it might just take me a couple of weeks to go through them all. Hn, Hn! Doh worry Friends, I’m only joking, but the Good Book does have a lot to say on the subject.
 
And we’ll begin with this rather interesting passage from Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘For we are saved by HOPE: but HOPE that is seen is not HOPE: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet HOPE for? But if we HOPE for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) wait (eagerly) for it.’ (Rom.8:24-25)
 
And that is not rocket science my brethren, but simple common sense! For if we see something in living colour, why would we still HOPE for it eh? But if we don’t see it in living colour, only through the eyes of faith, then we should HOPE for it, and wait with eager patience for it to appear in living colour.
 
And that’s where HOPE is tied into faith; it is the bedrock, the foundation stone of faith. (Heb.11:1) Without HOPE you cannot have faith, which is the next step in the process.
 
Now hear these words from Jeremiah’s Lamentations that tie in so nicely with what we’ve been talking about. Jeremiah is here talking about HOPE and relief through God’s mercy.
 
‘Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall (bitterness). My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled (bowed down) in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I HOPE. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
 
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I HOPE in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both HOPE and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.’ (Lam.3:19-26)
 
Oh Friends, those are indeed beautiful words of absolute truth! Words for all true believers to live by!
 
Therefore my people, logic dictates that we end here, with them resonating and reverberating through our hearts, minds and souls, to buoy and boost us up, as we go out to do the Lord’s work today. Go in the LOVE, peace and wisdom of God, my brethren. Much LOVE!
 
…without HOPE…what’s a man living for eh…he might as well be dead…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 November 2013 Matthew 5:12

Matthew 5:12.   Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Oh Friends, the church bells are tolling this beautiful Sunday morning! They’re tolling to invite us to fellowship and worship as the body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ down here on earth! Wow! What a special benefit and honour to be numbered in that most august society!

Many of you may remember growing up with the church bells pealing every Sunday morning and evening, calling all the faithful to the house that Christ built. I remember them quite vividly, because I lived only a couple minutes walk away from St. Andrews Anglican in Scarborough, Tobago, and I’d use them as a time piece, listening for when the last bell begin to toll, then I’d hustle off to get there just in time.

There were either two or three tollings, I don’t remember, but back then, when the bells pealed, you knew that almost the whole community was getting ready to go to church, regardless of their denomination. Unfortunately though, church bells tolling as a means of inviting the faithful to worship is now a thing of the past, like prehistoric dinosaurs.

The youth of today don’t even know that church bells existed, for there are very few around now, and even fewer toll, and likewise, even fewer attend church regularly. But my brethren, going to church and fellowshipping with others of like faith, is exactly one of the things Jesus had in mind when He commanded us to ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’

That’s because it’s much easier for believers to rejoice and be exceedingly happy, in spite of persecution, when they are gathered together worshipping and praising Almighty God, whether it be in a church, a house, a thatched hut, a cave or in the open air. Togetherness is the bedrock, the foundation of Christ’s body! No wonder we’re not making the progress we should, since that body is so fragmented, divisive, quarrelsome and resentful of each other.

But Friends, it’s virtually impossible for us to stand strong in the face of persecution when we’re not in sync with each other. That only gives the forces of evil an excellent opportunity to further divide and conquer us. For as logic declares, a group can usually stand stronger together against a common enemy, than a single individual.

And my people, coming together is one of the things we desperately need to concentrate on, if we’re to ever survive the challenges and persecution that the evil world powers are plotting against us. And even as a group, we can’t do it without the omnipotence of Jesus working in and amongst us. So please, let’s seriously concentrate on coming together, rather than drifting further apart nuh. That’s the only hope we have of strengthening and growing Jesus’ LOVE Revolution.

And I have the perfect quote for that from an article I read earlier on in the Anglican Newspaper, November 2013 edition. I copied it for use at some future time, but in God’s mysterious workings, (smile) that time seems to be now. It’s written by Bishop Patrick Yu, on the subject of inviting people to church.

He writes that ‘Growth is actually the sign of all living things, including a living faith and a living church!’ Now that’s gospel truth my people! If we’re not growing in faith and fellowship, then to all intents and purposes, we’re spiritually dead.

Anyway, enough sermonizing from me for today. (smile) Let’s get to the scriptures I faithfully promised you yesterday. And the first one deals with the first part of our Bit: ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:’

Peter puts it this way: ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as (to the extent that) ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.’ (1 Pet.4:12-13)

Yeh Friends, it’s definitely not an easy concept to grasp and then hold on tightly to, but we do need to believe that when we suffer for Jesus’ sake, we’re part of His suffering. Therefore, when He comes back in all His majestic glory, then we too shall participate in the overwhelming joy during those momentous times!

And James say it thus: ‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials). Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith, worketh (produces) patience.’  (James 1:2-3)

Short and sweet eh Friends! (smile) What a way we doing a lotta smiling today mih breddren! But that’s just the way it ought to be, if we’re exceedingly glad.

Now here’s what the scholars have to say: ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall (Gr. peripipto). These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing.

The words in verses 2 and 3 (temptations and trying) are often regarded as virtually synonymous. If this were true, then the trials themselves would produce spiritual maturity. But they do not. Often, testings make Christians bitter instead of better, with no spiritual growth occurring. The Greek word for “trying” (dokimion) might be better translated as “approving.”

It is not merely one’s presence in such trials but one’s victory over them that brings spiritual growth and maturity. Those Christians whom God can use the most are those whom God has bruised the most.’

And all God’s people said a low, unenthusiastic ‘Amen,’ because they know that’s the living truth, and it’s hard for the flesh to handle!

But enough for today Friends, I don’t want to stretch your intelligence and busy lives by running on too long. (smile) So let’s ponder all that we’ve said and heard, then make some good and godly decisions, in as many areas as we can, obviously with the help of Jesus. Much LOVE!

…for whom the bells toll…for all mankind…why…so that they can come to Christ…to acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour…and receive the free…but oh so wonderful gifts of salvation and everlasting life…