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 1 August 2015 Matthew 5:14‏‏

Matthew 5:14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Oh Friends, our God is a good God! Please don’t ever doubt that. Once you deal with Him decently, He will return the favour.

As you know, yesterday I suddenly ended up with this painful knee, which made walking somewhat difficult, to put it mildly. But then I wanted to go to the Pan Alive Steelband competition last night, which entailed some walking and climbing steps.

All day I agonized over the situation, because the Pan competition is the only Caribana festivity that I go to these days. However the Lord in His mysterious workings made the decision for me.

Around four thirty in the afternoon I got a phone call from my Auntie Anne and Uncle John saying that they were in town and would be at the Pan Alive. Well obviously I had to get up and get a move on. I couldn’t let them come to town and not see them.

So the Duchess bandaged up my knee and off I went. And believe me, the Lord in His goodness didn’t allow the knee to bother me too much. With the help of my trusty cane, which I hadn’t used in ages, we made the walk to the stadium and climbed the steps almost to the top to get a birds eye view.

And was the party ever good my brethren. The pan was sweet and the people around me; about 8 women and three men were a riot. We carried on all evening, through the cloudy periods, as well as when the sun shone brightly.

The interesting part is that I sat down to listen to the bands, but got up during the breaks, and that’s when the knee would ache some. But surprisingly, I danced it off without a problem. (smile)  Like standing up and moving made it feel better. Sitting down just caused it stiffen up.

Now if you know anything about Steelband competitions, you’ll know that there are always arguments, some very heated ones too. But our group wasn’t bad because they were all Panatics fans. Anyway the evening progressed quite nicely, until around 10.45 when the rain began to fall seriously.

It had drizzled a couple times before, but nothing to worry about. This shower though emptied the stands, except for a few hardy folks like myself. Well I had come prepared with my old jeans hat and my jacket, and I knew that if I ever came down those stairs I wasn’t going back up, I would probably have just left and come home.

But that wouldn’t have been wise because the band that was about to play, the second to last band was the reigning three time champions Pan Fantasy, and they were going to play my favourite kaiso for this year, Lucy by Destra.

The good thing is that while the rain fell, the riddim section of Pan Fantasy began pounding out a scintillating riddim and we all just stood up in the rain rocking to it. I even put down my trusty cane and rocked on my own. Wow! Glory to God!

The rain must have lasted for about half an hour, but the proceedings didn’t begin again until around 11.30. And believe me Friends, the wait and the rain were worth it, for Pan Fantasy put on a brilliant performance, they really mash it up, and the entire audience was in agreement that they should now be crowned champions for the fourth straight year.

Don’t know if that happened though, because I left during the playing of the last band, Afro Pan, which wasn’t as strong and powerful as they usually are. I didn’t get home until after one in the morning.

The only disappointment of the evening was that I didn’t see my Aunty Anne and Uncle John. I guess they didn’t come after all, because they would have surely seen me partying up at the back of the stadium. Got to find out what happened to them.

Anyway friends, the moral of the story, is that though the Lord places obstacles in our way, He WILL still enable us to enjoy ourselves once our hearts are right; such is His great favour and untold mercy to those who do try to do His will.

Now let’s see if we have time and space for our Bit after all my raving. (smile) ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’

And believe me Friends, the ole fella was indeed a bright and shining light in this darkened world yesterday evening, and the flavour of my salt was certainly strong and useful! (smile) I just spread peace, LOVE and goodwill all around. Glory to God!

Oh, and to tell how good the Lord was to me, as I was walking to the ticket window, a guy came up to me sold me a ticket for 20 instead of the official 30 dollars. So how can I complain eh?

That brings us to this statement of Jesus re John the Baptist. ‘He was a burning and a shining light (lamp); and ye were willing for a season (a time) to rejoice in his light.’ (John 5:35) Now why were they only willing for a season, for a short time to bask in the light of John the Baptist eh?

Jesus spells it out earlier. ‘And this is the condemnation, that light (The Light) is come into the world, and men LOVED darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.’ (John 3:19) 

And that’s still gospel truth to this day Friends! Possibly even truer in today’s rather evil and ungodly world. We LOVE the darkness because of all the evil stuff that’s running through us, and if we ever came to the light, our true selves and deeds would be laid bare for all to see and we’d no longer have the camouflage of darkness to hide who and what we truly are.

And Jesus continues: ‘For every one that doeth (practices) evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (exposed). But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.’ (Matt.3:20-21)

Oh my people, these sad and distressful times call for true faith and bravery on our part. None of us is perfect, we all have hidden deeds of which we are ashamed, but we are guaranteed absolution and forgiveness through the redemptive blood of Jesus.

So please let’s be wise and brave nuh, and bring all our evil deeds to Him in repentance, so that He can cleanse and heal us and bring us safely and LOVINGLY through to the light, His blessed light, where we can then flourish in His goodness, having His salt and light about us to do godly work instead of evil. That’s the wisdom of the ages! Much LOVE!

…living in the truth and light of Jesus…is much wiser…more wholesome and refreshing…than living in the evil darkness of Beelzebub…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 October 2012 Jude 3

Jude 3.   Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.
 
Oh my fabulous Friends in Christ, congrats are in order! I looked through the obits this morning and I didn’t see any of our names, that means we’re still alive and kicking! Praise the Lord! But unfortunately there was one name I knew; Lincoln Alexander, who died last Friday at the ripe old age of 90. And who was Lincoln Alexander, you ask? Well let’s see where to start? I guess the beginning is as good a place as any. He was born in 1922 in downtown Toronto of West Indian parents, in a time when racism was still rife in the country. However Lincoln Alexander grew up to be, not only one of the FIRST BLACK lawyers in the city, but also the FIRST BLACK Member of Canada’s Parliament, the FIRST BLACK Cabinet Minster in the Canadian Government, and finally, the FIRST BLACK Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario. Wow! Imagine a poor BLACK man of West Indian parentage accomplishing all that in those racist times nuh! It seems like he was always chocked full of confidence, but like many truly confident people was still able to be very humble and approachable. I remember when he first became Lieutenant Governor, a lot of folks weren’t happy, but by the end of his term, many of the same ones were pleased with the way he handled himself in the mainly ceremonial post. I don’t know why, in this supposed modern day and age, when BLACK people are very prominent and successful in all walks of life, all over the world, the white populace still gets all up in arms over a BLACK leader. Take for example Barack Obama in the U.S. It doesn’t matter one iota that his mother’s family was and is white, the race card is still being strenuously played. It seems that a dollop of the tar brush is powerful enough to overcome any other colours. Before Obama, they had a fool who ruled for eight years, ran the country right into the ground. But his lack of brainpower and leadership skills didn’t matter because he was white. Then they’re all getting on Obama’s case because he didn’t fix all the wrongdoing in four years, especially with no meaningful cooperation from the other side. Chuh! Anyway, I want to end the comment on Lincoln Alexander with a statement from the current Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David Onley, as posted in the Toronto Star newspaper “When racism was endemic in Canadian society, he broke through barriers that treated visible minorities as second-class citizens, strangers in their own land.’ And that’s the gospel truth Friends! Onley knows something about discrimination, because he has some physical movement problems and operates from a wheelchair. That was also a sticking point for some people when he was appointed to the post. Anyhow Linc -as he liked to be called- rest in peace my brother. You have been a shining beacon of light to ALL people in this dark world, and for that Jesus will reward you abundantly in the next life. And now, turning to our Bit: ‘Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once (for all time) delivered to the saints.’ I guess you can say Lincoln Alexander did that in his own way. He stood up for his rights and what he believed in, and didn’t let his racist enemies beat him down and give up the fight for a right and good life. Oh Friends, it’s the same way we believers need to stand up strong and fight for our belief in Jesus, because there’s a whole evil world out there trying to put Him down, make Him of no consequence. And sadly, through our less than sterling resistance, they have succeeded in curtailing His importance, position, and power in many aspects of our society and our lives. And if we don’t get serious and truly ramp up our fight against the powerful evildoers, Christ’s church will eventually be decimated and of no use. Now that’s something all of us claim we don’t want to happen, but it won’t be prevented by us merely sitting on our comfortable fat fannies and not putting up strong resistance, and fighting back too. Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about today, is why Jude thought it so very important to write to his friends and fellow believers about earnestly contending for their faith. However, because of time and space constraints, I’ll leave it for tomorrow, when hopefully I won’t have to eulogize anyone else, especially one of our Scrip-Bit family. And we’ll end with an appropriate exhortation on the subject from Bruh Paul to the church at Corinth. ‘Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men (be brave), be strong. Let all your things be done with charity (LOVE).’ (1 Cor.16:13-14) And that’s as it should be my brethren! So let’s relight that fire, that flame of passion we once had for our faith nuh, and rise up in Jesus’ name, like the sure conquerors that we are and fight to the death for what we believe in. That’s the way true believers operate. Much LOVE!…if it’s not worth dying for…then it’s not worth fighting for…