Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 September 2020 John 14:19b.

John 14:19b.     ​…because I live, ye shall live also.

The last Sunday friends, the last Sunday of purely technological worship! Glory be! Yeh, the Anglican church is finally reopening its doors next week…and about time too. It will certainly be strange and somewhat uncertain entering those portals of the Lord’s sanctuary to worship after such a long time. But as prime believers we’ll handle it very nicely, just as we handled the sudden stop in physical worship some months ago. Now we don’t expect everyone to show up, since many are still timid and uncertain about the Covid-19 scene and don’t trust the arrangements put in place for the resumption of physical worship. But that’s okay because the important thing is for everyone to feel safe and comfortable in what they do. 

So let’s get the show rolling with a magnificent Christian contemporary song nuh. Something titled ‘Because He Lives,’ written by the popular song writing team of Bill and Gloria Gaither. And if you think the Lord doesn’t move in mysterious ways, then think again nuh, for up to Saturday I couldn’t think of a song to sing today. But a couple days ago a friend had shared a version of ‘Because He Lives,’ and later on Saturday I further shared it with some other believers and that was the end of that. I was so touched by it that I knew it was today’s Song. 

Therefore, without further ado, let’s offer up some sacrifice of praise in a soulful, harmonious and passionate manner, meaning truly believing what we sing. ‘(Chorus: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives.) (Repeat) God sent His Son they called Him, Jesus He came to LOVE, heal and forgive He lived and died to buy my pardon An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. (Chorus) 

How sweet to hold a newborn baby And feel the pride and joy he gives But greater still that calm assurance This child can face uncertain days because He lives And then one day I’ll cross the river I’ll fight life’s final war with pain And then, as death gives way to vict’ry I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives And life is worth the living Just because He lives And life is worth the living Just because He lives…’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my brethren…because Jesus lives, we too will live, and moreover be able to face any and everything that comes against us. As one pastor says, Jesus is alive, and that’s enough! Give Him thanks and praise my people! 

Now most of you don’t know that there’s a rather interesting and touching story behind that song. And here it is, as told by Gloria Gaither to interviewer Lindsay Terry. ‘In the late 1960’s, while expecting their third child, the Gaithers were going through a rather traumatic time in their lives. Bill was recovering from a bout with mononucleosis. It was a special period of anxiety and mental anguish for Gloria. The thought of bringing another child into this world, with all of the “craziness,” was taking its toll on her. 

On New Year’s Eve, she was sitting in their living room, in agony and fear. The educational system was being infiltrated with the God is dead idea, while drug abuse and racial tensions were increasing. Then suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, she was filled with a gentle, calming peace. It was as if her heavenly Father, like an attentive mother bending over her baby, saw his child and came to her rescue. The panic gave way to calmness and an assurance that only the Lord can impart. She was assured that the future would be just fine, left in God’s hands. 

Shortly after the baby was born, both Bill and Gloria remembered that the power of the blessed Holy Spirit seemed to come to their aid. Christ’s resurrection, in all of its power and affirmation in their lives, revitalized their thinking. To Gloria, it was life conquering death in their daily activities. Joy once again dominated the fearful circumstances of the day Those events gave rise to one of the most famous Christian songs of our time, “Because He Lives.” 

In this song, which begins, “God sent His son, they called Him Jesus,” we are reminded that Christ came to this earth. And the purpose for His coming was that we might be able to face tomorrow, with all of the uncertainty that it brings. She also reminds us that God holds the future right in his hands and makes life worth living for all who trust in him.’ 

Ah mih people, what a magnificent, magnanimous and comforting God we serve and worship…and One who moves in such mysterious and unexpected ways His LOVING-kindness to accomplish! So tell me why the world doesn’t gladly and joyfully serve and worship Him eh? Pure pride and stupidity! And that brings us to His simple but yet so important promise: ‘…because I live, ye shall live also.’ (John 14:19b) Glory Hallelujah my faithful friends! 

Oh saints of Christ, His death on the cross of Calvary was important, because there He paid our sin debt in full, but the real crowning glory is His resurrection; His immortal victory over hell, death and grave! Wow! Hades couldn’t hold Him, and because of that it won’t hold those who sincerely believe in Him either! Our faith wouldn’t have been worth anything if Christ had stayed dead, but that miracle of rebirth – for want of a better word –  (smile) makes all the difference. No wonder Bruh Paul’s greatest desire was: ‘That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:10) 

What a powerful scripture! And the scholars explain it thus: ‘3:10. This verse may also be paraphrased: “In order that I may personally know Him, that I might both experience His resurrection power and share in His sufferings, and thus I will be more and more conformed to His death.” Paul wants “the righteousness…of God” (vs.9) so that he can obtain a personal relationship with Jesus in actual day to day experience. This knowledge of Christ is obtained by experiencing in daily problems, needs, ministry, and so forth, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. 

Knowing Christ also entails participating in His sufferings. Paul desires to share in the Lord’s sufferings because they bring him into a deeper and more meaningful relation with Him, companionship in sorrow establishes the most intimate and lasting of ties, as afflicted hearts cling to each other. The result of participating in Christ’s sufferings is that Paul is made like Him in death. This word “death” has a double meaning here, including inward and outward, ethical and physical death. As Jesus died in regard to sin on the cross, so Paul is doing more and more in his daily life. As Jesus was bodily slain, so the apostle, should Caesar’s verdict go against him, is prepared to be slain.’ 

Wow! Now that is the height of discipleship and faith! It’s doubtful though that many of us can attain it, but it’s nonetheless a good standard to aspire to. Let’s see how close we can come to it nuh. (smile) Much LOVE!

…Christ’s death and resurrection…the best news ever… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 September 2018 Deuteronomy 31:6.

Deuteronomy 31:6.   Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee nor forsake thee.

And then it was the Tuesday after the Labour Day weekend; time to go back to school and work! And it seems like it’s going to be another hot, hazy and humid day in my neighbourhood. But we’ll take it, though some of the promised rain would be nice. However, we can’t blame the weather forecasters too much, because with the screwed up climate we have nowadays, their predictions can easily be thrown off. 

Anyway, today we’re going to talk about two words that play a very big part in our lives, both as normal humans and Christian believers. Those words are FEAR and COURAGE! First up are a couple of definitions of those words from Uncle Charles (Dr. Charles Stanley) Here’s what he says about Fear. 

‘Fear – An uneasy feeling, a feeling of dread…an internal alarm that goes off inside of us when we are feeling imminent danger; feel threatened, or feel helpless to avoid or change it.’ In other words, Fear seems to be a negative disposition; one that has us nervous and jittery, feeling weak, especially when we can’t do anything about the prevailing circumstances. 

As per Courage, Uncle Charles says: ‘Courage: The quality of mind or spirit enabling us to meet danger, face opposition, or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness and firmness.’ Courage then boosts us up, makes us strong, has us feeling we can do whatever it takes to meet a certain situation. 

But for whatever it’s worth, both of those emotions play a very large part in our lives. These days with our world in such a sorry state of war, resentment, anger, hate and strife, fear is very common and a frequent visitor to too many of us. And it takes a lot of courage to ignore that kind of stuff and move on with a positive and productive life. 

Now we all entertain fear at some time or other in our lives, but as Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say, we need to do it afraid. So courage isn’t necessarily not having fear, but also doing whatever we need to do while being fearful or afraid. 

And one of the first directives Moses gave to the Israelites when he was dying are the words contained in our Bit. ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee nor forsake thee.’  

What a magnificent promise my brethren! And when the Israelites held to it, they were fine, and when they didn’t they suffered serious harm. And I’d like you to know that that promise still holds true even to this day, so many thousands of years later. 

And on the death of Moses, the Lord God Himself even reiterated it to Joshua after making him leader of the Israelites. ‘Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.’ (Josh.1:9) 

That seems to intimate that followers of Jehovah God should not be afraid of anything or anyone that comes against them because their great, powerful and caring God is always with them wherever they may go. And that’s the indisputable truth friends: our omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present God is all over, all the time! His eyes are always on us, as He walks, before, behind and beside us. 

So there’s no need to fear. We can be sometimes anxious, but definitely not fearful. And if you don’t believe me, then listen to Jesus with the ultimate word on the situation. ‘Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ (Luke 12:32) 

And Jesus was always cheering up His followers, advising them to have courage. Listen to him as He came walking on the water towards His scared disciples on the boat. ‘Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I; be not afraid.’ (Matt.14:27) 

And hear Him again when He tells them He’s going back to heaven and promises to send the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide them. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

And later on He again warns them: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer (take courage); I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) That’s the faithful promise of our Lord and Saviour, my people! Powerful words for us to hold on to securely and courageously live by! If you’re a true believer, that’s the ONLY way to live! 

And Bruh David adds his two cents worth (smile) ‘Wait (in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait (in faith), I say, on the Lord.’ (Ps.27:14) More invaluable advice my brethren! So please take it. But now it’s time to go home, and we’ll do so declaring our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know who and whose we are. 

In strong voice with sincere hearts now:  ‘I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

So what are we waiting for eh? Let’s go out and do as we just declared. Much LOVE!

…faith in Jesus…that’s the only thing that will quench…fear of the world…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 August 2013 Psalm 27:14

Psalm 27:14.   Wait (in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait (in faith), I say, on the Lord.
 
Aye mih Friends, these days are going by so quickly, it’s hard to keep up, to stay level with them! Look, just yesterday was Monday, now it’s already Tuesday today! (smile)
 
The days truly seem to be hurtling by faster and faster. But don’t worry my people, because if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you have it covered on all fronts: we have the Holy Spirit here on earth to lead and guide us aright, and when the final trump sounds, Jesus will come and take us home with Him.
 
Wow! What a magnificent and magnanimous God we serve and worship! And all God’s people gave a mighty and joyful shout of ‘Praise the Lord! Praise His Son, Jesus Christ, to whom all knees shall bow, and all tongues shall gratefully confess and acknowledge that He is Lord of all!’ 
 
But unfortunately, despite all the coverage, I know that many believers are still struggling, are still oppressed and fearful, especially when we see the wicked prospering. However my brethren, though it’s hard, we cannot afford to look too closely at what others are doing to progress in this evil, ungodly world. We have to stay fully attuned to Almighty God and His dictates.
 
That’s why Bruh David in this explosive and illuminating psalm, superscripted, ‘the Lord is my light and my salvation, ends it with the wise, encouraging and confidence building words of Today’s Bit: ‘Wait (in faith) on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait (in faith), I say, on the Lord.’
 
Please note Friends, Bruh David tells us to do two things, and a third will result. First we have to wait on the Lord, and that means waiting with strong, solid faith, not a wishy-washy kind of waiting, but a conscious and purposeful anticipation and expectation.
 
For as Hebrews 11 tells us: ‘Now faith is the substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Hebrews 11:1) For if we can see something, there’s no reason to yet hope for or have faith or expect it to come to pass.
 
And then he tells us to be of good courage. Hn! Now what does that much used and maligned word mean eh? Here’s a definition from Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) which some of you might have seen on His programme In Touch some weeks ago. He defines COURAGE as: ‘The quality of mind or spirit enabling us to meet danger, opposition or the challenges of life with fearlessness, firmness and calmness.’
 
And that’s as good a definition as we’ll ever get my brethren! Courage is truly the ability to stand strong when everything seems to be falling down around us. It helps us stay calm, rational and focused.
 
Now that doesn’t mean we won’t be afraid, but like Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say, ‘Do it afraid.’ And that’s possible because the faith in God that Bruh David talks about will strengthen and enable us to stand up to whatever difficult or fearful situation that comes against us.
 
And my brethren, in times of fear and trouble, please remember this awesome promise of our omnipotent and ever-faithful God: ‘No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of (from) me, saith the Lord.’ (Is.54:17)
 
And that’s gospel truth Friends! It’s a promise we can stand upon without fear of contradiction or recantation!
 
Oh my fellow believers in Christ, our God has been encouraging His people to be strong and courageous ever since time began. Listen to what Moses told the twelve spies that were sent into the Promised Land to reconnoitre it.
 
‘And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean (fertile or barren), whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.’ (Num.13:20)
 
Yeh mih breddren, whatever we do, we need to do with faith and courage, for this wicked world doesn’t take kindly to weakness. Yuh see how it takes unnecessary advantage of the poor, the sick and needy? It has no mercy whatsoever on those who are not at least internally strong.
 
And the only way to get that internal strength is through faith in Almighty God! Yes Friends, that strength and courage we need are acquired attributes. We have to consciously go after them with much diligence and perseverance.
 
And having said all of that this Tuesday morning, now let’s actively seek the face of our great and wonderful God, before we go out to face the enemy hordes, asking Him for that enabling strength and courage that comes to all who wait in patient faith on Him. That’s our prayer for this morning my brethren.
 
And all God’s people declared a loud, faithful and purposeful, ‘Praise the Lord! Praise His Holy Name! Amen!’ and again we say, ‘Amen!’
 
Much much LOVE my fellow believers in Christ Jesus!
 
…only as believers stand and wait on the Lord…in patient faith…shall He strengthen them…  
 
P.S. Even though the Bit’s a tad late, there’s no reason to complain about its length today. It’s pretty short. Even I was amazed. (smile) Much LOVE!
 
       
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 June 2013 Proverbs 4:26

Proverbs 4:26:    Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
 
Oh Friends, another beautiful day is being heralded all around the world! And we Christians are the luckiest of the lucky! 
 

Why? Because we have a just and faithful Father God to watch over and provide for us; a selfless Saviour who died to cleanse us of our sins, and is now our Advocate and High Priest; and last but certainly not least, we have the Holy Spirit which dwells in us and guides us in all righteousness. Wow! 
 

And that’s not all, for when this mortal life on earth is done, we have the faithful promise of salvation and eternal life with the Trinity of our God-head. So what more can we ask eh my brethren? Nothing really.
 
But that also means that we’re supposed to be the most joyful people on the planet, which unfortunately we’re not. Too many of us are still fearful of the world and the evil things in it. But remember that our Saviour Jesus Christ says that He has overcome the world, so we should not fear, but be of good cheer. (John 16:33) And likewise Bruh Paul cautioned Timothy: ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind.’ (2 Tim.1:7)
 
Oh Friends, it therefore behoves us to stand steadfast, strong and courageous in the faith, to do what we have been called to do, obviously with the able assistance of our triumvirate God-head. And to help us do that, here’s a definition of Courage, from Uncle Charles, Charles Stanley. Some of you might have heard it in a broadcast a few weeks back. He defines courage as: ‘The quality of mind and spirit enabling us to meet danger, opposition or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness and firmness.’
 
And that’s indeed courage in a nutshell my people! The ability to face anything, despite abnormal or unfavourable circumstances should be the motto and work of our Christian witness. And remember too that courage doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of fear, but doing it even though we’re afraid, because we have that awesome promise of our faithful God that He will work everything out for the good of those He’s called and who LOVE Him. (Rom.8:28)
 
But my fellow believers, having all that help is of no good unless we use it, unless we do our part. And a portion of our part is to do as our Bit advises. ‘Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.’ Yes Friends, we need to seriously consider the paths we choose in life, before walking them, because we can be cruelly led astray if we choose the wrong ones.
 
And Cousin Sol warns us of one such wrong path in the next chapter when he talks about adultery. ‘And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished (enraptured) with a strange (an immoral) woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger (seductress)?
 
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth (observes, weighs) all his goings. His own iniquities shall take (entrap) the wicked himself, and he shall be holden (caught) with the cords of his sins. He shall die without (for lack of) instruction: and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.’ (Prov.5:20-23)
 
Oh my brethren, more awesome words of wisdom and undeniable truth! The Lord sees all our comings and goings, and all the thoughts of our hearts and minds are constantly exposed to His righteous stare, therefore we cannot afford to err foolishly and succumb to wicked devices, for those same evil devices will cause our inevitable and unfortunate downfall. 
 
And here’s some info from the scholars. ‘Another reason for rejecting sexual temptation is that the Lord sees all and will punish the wrongdoer. He shall die does not necessarily mean a physical death, but it refers to an absence of life. The adulterer will miss out on the full and joyous life that God intended.’
 
And all of that is corroborated by the author of Hebrews, when talking about God’s discipline and the running of our earthly race. ‘Now no chastening (discipline) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised (trained) thereby. 
 
Wherefore lift up (strengthen) the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way (be dislocated); but let it rather be healed.’ (Heb.12:11-13)
 
Yeh mih people, none of us likes to be disciplined, but it’s often necessary to teach us righteousness. Therefore we have to be strong and courageous and walk the straight and narrow path, else we’ll most certainly go astray.
 
And we’ll end with some more useful info from the scholars. ‘Some of the runners in verse 1 have grown so weary that they have become stooped and need spiritual strength to be straightened up again. They must be given help, yet they themselves also must straighten their paths by avoiding obstacles that would spiritually trip them up.’
 
Oh Friends, it’s definitely not an easy row we have to hoe as believers, but as Bruh Paul so wisely informed the Philippians: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ (Phil.4:13) And so too can all of us my brethren. 
 
So let’s put Christ first and foremost in our lives nuh, thus enabling us to stay on that straight and narrow path, without veering either to the right or to the left. For that’s the very essence of wisdom! Much LOVE!
 
…when our eyes, hearts and minds look to Jesus…then our feet automatically tread the straight and true way…