Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 May 2020 Romans 7:15.

Romans 7:15.    For that which I do I allow (understand) not: for what I would  (want to do), that do I not: but what I hate, that do I.
 
And would you believe it, snow has been forecasted for this weekend in certain areas, where spring should just be blooming along nicely? Let’s hope none falls in my area. But that just goes to show the temperamental kind of climate we have nowadays; snow in almost the middle of May, on Mother’s Day weekend to boot! But we’re already locked down so a li’l snow won’t make much of a difference. (smile) And what else is new eh? Life nowadays is just completely zig zag, contrary, up in the air, and confusion reigns! 

But there’s no confusion with our friend Anselm though, he’s still sent us a full slate of quotes as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And like he was on a self-improvement kick this past week. Hn! And this first quote speaks directly to that situation. ‘Never neglect an opportunity for self-improvement.’ Now that’s a mighty truth and rather wise advice my people, especially in these oh so discombobulating times! Self -improvement ought to be an ongoing regime we all take very seriously, for if we don’t keep improving, we’ll die a slow and uninteresting death while we’re still alive. (smile) 

That brings us to this next quote: ‘Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.’ Now that’s also wise advice, and we should always endeavour to learn from others, but the way it’s put, it doesn’t sound too ethical, like you’re stealing what others worked so hard for. But it’s like I always told my children, the best way to learn is from other people’s mistakes. That will prevent you from making the same ones they made. 

However, we all have our own bag of mistakes to make, and learning from others won’t stop you from making your own personal bundle, but it will certainly cut down on the overall total of mistakes in your life. If you learn from others, you might just make fifty instead of a hundred and fifty! (smile) Then there’s this: ‘Work on yourself more than you do on your job.’ Well that one I really don’t know about nuh. It seems somewhat unethical as well as unchristian. (smile) Jesus tells us we ought to work very diligently at our jobs, but this tells us we must work harder on ourselves than we do on our jobs. 

Now we certainly must work hard at improving ourselves, but it seems that if we work harder on ourselves than we do on our jobs, we’re short-changing our employer, because we’re not giving of our best on the job. So what am I to say eh? Too much seemingly ethical stuff to deal with this morning. (smile) So let’s just say that we must work hard at improving ourselves and also give our best on our jobs! Matter fix! 

And now we come to this oh so important quote: ‘Be the type of person you want to meet.’ Yes friends, that’s the awesome truth in spades! If you want to have friends, then you must show yourself to be friendly! You can’t be constantly miserable and grouchy and expect others to befriend you. Likewise, if you want to be around interesting and learned folks, you have to also show some of those qualities. 

It’s true that you ought to try and associate with those of higher intellect and aspirations than yours, so that you can learn from them, but you also have to bring something to the table, you can’t just come and expect to grab everything and not contribute anything. Although that’s the way of the world nowadays; we’re all just grabby-grabby and greedy, selfish as the day is long! The first person pronoun ‘Me, myself and I’ seem to be the most important  words in our vocabulary these day. 

Then we come to this last quote. The kick-tail one: ‘There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.’ And anyone who has seriously tried to improve themselves will certainly know and readily agree with that. We all try to improve ourselves, but for one reason or another, most of the time we fall short. We lose our passion, get lazy, other more important things intrude, we get busy and run out of time, we make excuses when we find out how hard it is to truly improve, whatever. But self-improvement never comes easily or goes along without difficulties and interruptions. 

And I think a good scriptural example of that is Bruh Paul’s dilemma in his epistle to the Romans. ‘For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal (fleshly), sold under sin. For that which I do I allow (understand) not: for what I would  (want to do), that do I not: but what I hate, that do I.’ (Rom. 7:14-15) Don’t we all  occasionally find ourselves in that dilemma? Most certainly! Bruh Paul was trying to improve his spiritual life, but like us, he struggled with his two natures; the easy and extremely attractive law and lust of our flesh, and the much more difficult and less enticing path, that of walking in the Spirit of God. 

The scholars offer this explanation. ‘7:14. The law is spiritual: The law has the characteristics of the Spirit and is consistent with the character of God. I am carnal: What follows is autobiographical and designed to reveal the real struggle the apostle experienced in the flesh. His experience is also exemplary, for it shows the problems all believers experience in their battle with sin.’ 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul was a man like us with struggles like us. As he further argues: ‘If then I do that which I would not (don’t want to do), I consent (agree) unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would (want to do) I do not: but the evil which I would not  (don’t want to do), that I do.’ (Rom. 7:16-19) 

Oh my people, challenges will always come along when we try to improve ourselves, especially in the Christian faith. In fact, life itself is a challenge, and trying to live it successfully is possibly our biggest challenge. (smile) It lead Bruh Paul to frustratingly declare: ‘O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ (Rom. 7:24) 

And the scholars explain thus: ‘7:24. O wretched man: The reference here is to Paul’s tragic condition of defeat and frustration with sin. The body of this death is not the physical body, but the inherited sin nature received from Adam. It is that in him which is continually inclined toward thoughts and deeds that yield only (spiritual) death.’  

But in the end, he certainly knew where to find solace from his struggles: ‘I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.’ (Rom. 7:25) Yes my faithful brethren, in Christ, we find the answer to ALL of our struggles! Much LOVE!

…come unto me…all you who labour…and are heavy burdened…and I will give you rest…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 April 2020 1 Corinthians 3:7.

1 Corinthians 3:7.    ​So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
 
Well the days pass by as quickly as ever, although they seem to be taking their own sweet time, what with the huge amount of inactivity so many are undergoing through the Covid-19 fallout. But friends, if we want to make it through this disastrous situation successfully, we have to try and stay as active as possible within the narrow means that are currently available to us. That’s exercise body, mind and spirit! And you can’t use that age old excuse that you’re busy and have no time, (smile) for if it’s one thing most of us have right now is lots of idle time on our hands. 

That means we also have the magnificent opportunity to get into the Good Book and voraciously devour the Word of the Lord! Glory be mih people! Yes, getting into the marvellous Word of our great God, should be our number one priority in these idle times, so that when our world returns to whatever the new normal will be, we will all be much better versed in it, and thus better able to live it! Wow! 

Friends, most of us will never have a better opportunity to learn the Word than right now, so please, let’s not waste it, since our lack of knowing, and thus implementing the Word is probably what has brought us to our current situation. Read that as stubborn, hard-hearted rebellion and an abundance of sinful disobedience against the Lord of the universe! 

Anyway, it’s Saturday, so let’s get into those quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And he did have some very interesting ones this week, focussing on what we term progress. But listen to this first one – I just LOVE it. ‘Little by little becomes a lot.’ And isn’t that the awesome truth! As my Jamaican people would say; ‘one one cocoa full basket.’ 

Yes friends, simple consistency and satisfaction with a small amount is rather important in our lives. Or as we’d say further down south: ‘Take a li’l and live long!’ And that’s a major problem with our society these days; a lack of patience and overarching greed, wanting whatever we want right now in profusion. That’s also why we have to start saving from early, always putting aside a little for the rainy day that’s bound to come! 

And this one, I can certainly testify to it’s truth: ‘Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.’ Oh isn’t that the awesome truth my people! I’ve experienced it some in my own life. When you’re riding high, everyone wants to be your friend, but when the chips all fall down, there’s never anyone around to help you look for them. Those are what we call ‘fair-weather friends.’ 

And for some reason, when that talk comes up, I always  remember MC Hammer (Rick Stanley Burrell) the American rap artiste and dancer. He spoke to that situation. When he was popular and riding high, there were numerous so-called friends around to enjoy his largesse, but by the time he hit bankruptcy, none of those bodies could be found. So friends, please take note; look for those people who are willing to ride the bus with you, when the limo breaks down, or you can no longer afford it. 

Now hear this: ‘Progress is not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.’ And there is some truth in that, for enhancing what we have is not always the best way to go. We need to keep our eyes steadfastly fixed on where we want to go, where it would be most beneficial for us to go, and work towards that. Just doing better in the area we’re currently in is not necessarily progress, especially if the Lord has a better and/or different plan for our lives. And that, my brethren, needs to be our number one consideration; the Lord’s plan for our earthly lives, for from that, all else ought to flow. 

And that thought segues ever so smoothly into this one: ‘You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining.’ That’s the gospel truth! But if it wasn’t…then our world would be ever so progressive since this generation has made whimpering and complaining a lifestyle of the first order! Steups! Nobody wants to put up with a li’l discomfort, or do a li’l bit of hard work, but everybody wants to live the high life; that associated with the rich and famous. 

But friends, here’s a li’l secret that we all ought to know; the initial rich and famous didn’t get rich and famous by whimpering and complaining, but by working their tails off, be it for good or evil! Yes, some of their descendants might have come into their fame and fortune rather easily because of their forefathers, but here’s another li’l gem, none of them will keep it if somebody doesn’t put some blood sweat and tears into doing so! And consequently, this quote is also rather true and wise. ‘Don’t compare your progress to that of others. We need our own time to travel our own distance.’ 

Yeh mih bredrin, just like the Lord has different plans for different people, the time we need to accomplish them also differ. And the worst thing we can ever do is compare our plan and what it entails with that of someone else, because all that does is breed frustration, jealousy, envy, dissatisfaction and resentment in our hearts, especially if the other somebody seems to be more progressive and successful than we are. Listen to Bruh Paul as he warned the church at Rome and us: 

‘For I say, through the grace given unto me. To every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office (function): So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one (individually) members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching…’ (Rom. 12:3-6) 

Yes my fellow believers, we all have different gifts to do different things in the Lord’s cause, but they don’t all have the same result, or take the same time, but we are all members of one body, Christ, so we must not be contentious and jealous, think of ourselves too highly or lowly, just know that we will be well rewarded for whatever Christ has us to do if we do it selflessly and sacrificially,. 

Bruh Paul also touched on the subject in his first letter to the Corinthians: ‘For ye are yet carnal (fleshly, worldly): for whereas there is among you envying and strife , and divisions (dissensions), are ye not carnal, and walk as men (according to man)? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.’ (1 Cor. 3:3-7) 

So my faithful brethren, please, please, let’s stop complaining and whining and comparing ourselves to each other nuh, for if we truly believe that our God is wise, then all the parts He’s made will fit nicely and smoothly together in one plan, if we sincerely follow His blueprint; His Word. Much LOVE!

…the Lord’s blueprint for earthly living is perfect…we just need to follow it sincerely…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 April 2020 1 Corinthians 3:3.

1 Corinthians 3:3.    For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying and strife, and divisions (dissensions), are ye not carnal (fleshly), and walk as men (according to man).
 
Oh my people, this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it nuh! Yes, that’s the wisest plan we can have for this awesome day! God didn’t make it just for making it sake, but so that His children could enjoy it with all His other wonders, like nature, salvation, grace, mercy, forgiveness, etc. etc. Yeah! And God made us just for this particular time otherwise we wouldn’t be here. That also means we have work to do on His behalf. So let’s get to it nuh and stop dilly dallying for we know not how much time we have left, and come the judgement day, when He asks why we did so li’l with our lives, what good excuse are we going to have eh? The Coronavirus will only cover a small part. (smile) 

And today I want to share a simple but very insightful poem that recently came my way. The author is James Dillet Freeman, and the poem, titled ‘To Thine Own Self’ comes from his book  ‘Angels Sing in Me: The James Dillet Freeman Memorial Book’ (Unity Books, 2004). ‘To Thine Own Self,’ admirably points out a couple of serious flaws in our earthly living; that of comparing oneself to others, and wishing for what they have, not considering what gifts God gave them, because He gave us all different gifts, nor how they achieved whatever they possess, the problems they might have gone through, or whether they have even sold their soul to the devil or some such unwise thing. 

So please read with me: ‘The lake looked at the mountain, and thought: O fortunate mountain, rising so high, while I must lie so low. You look far out across the world and take part in many interesting happenings, while I can only lie still. How I wish I were a mountain! The mountain looked at the lake, and thought: O fortunate lake, lying so close to the warm-breasted Earth while I loom here craggy, cold, and uncomfortable. You are always so peaceful, while I am constantly having to battle howling storm and blazing sun. How I wish I were a lake! All the time, quietly, the mountain was coming down in silver streams to run into the lake, and the lake was rising as silver mists to fall as snow upon the mountain.’ 

Ah friends, in today’s fast paced, mish mash world so much of that kind of envious behaviour is so prevalent that it causes us serious problems, especially when we put all the foolishness of social media on top of our natural jealousy. But our God wasn’t foolish when He made us. Just like the mountain supplies fresh water to the lake, from the mists and snow that the lake provides to the mountain, the Lord made us to be complementary to each other, not competitive against each other and even worse, raising the level of that competitiveness to warlike proportions of envy and jealousy. 

A lot of our world problems stem directly from that unwarranted situation; within societies, as well as between nations. We all aspire to be at the top of the heap, and too often do whatever it takes to get us there. Yes, that might be the way of unbelievers and their unbelieving world, but it is definitely not what Christ desires in His followers, as Bruh Paul so clearly stated in his first missive to the church at Corinth, re carnal minds hindering the growth of the Holy Spirit within us. 

‘And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat (solid food): for hitherto (until now) ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying and strife, and divisions (dissensions), are ye not carnal (fleshly), and walk as men (according to man).’ (1 Cor. 3:1-3) And that’s the gospel truth re the situation in many churches and amongst too many believers today! 

Hear the scholars nuh. ‘3:1-3.I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: In the case of newborns babes, this would be natural and to be expected (1 Pet. 2:2). But it is embarrassing at this stage in their development. Milk, figuratively stands for elementary Christian instruction, and meat refers to advanced doctrine. Carnal (lit. “fleshly”). The warfare between the flesh and the spirit receives continual emphasis in Paul’s writings (cf. Rom. 7:14-8:13; Gal. 5:17). The factions that have destroyed the unity in Corinth indicate that these believers were not walking by the Spirit, but were allowing the flesh to direct their behaviour.’ 

And that friends is exactly what’s happening in our churches today. Those who should be mature believers by now, are still in elementary classes, still walking as worldly men and not spiritual believers. And we can’t walk both after the dictates of men as well as of the Spirit. Thus there is way too much dissension and division amongst the different denominations, and even more so amongst their members. Christ’s church is full of way, way too much envying and strife my brethren! 

Remember, we are supposed to be all a part of ONE body, Christ’s church, and if one part is sick or diseased, just like the human body, the rest of it will also suffer problems. We are allowing the enemy to divide and conquer us by being so divided and envious and strife-filled. That means we’re acting just like the world. But remember too that we’re supposed to be in the world, not behave like the world. We are supposed to be the salt and the light, be proactive and productive and show the unbeliever the light, take them out of their darkness. But how can we do that, when so many of us are still living in unproductive darkness eh? 

Let’s rise up then and live like Bruh Paul advised the Galatians nuh: ‘This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other…’ (Gal. 5:16-17a) Yes friends, the flesh and Spirit pull us in opposite directions, but when we know the Word, and with the Spirit’s help, adhere to it, then we become fruitful Christians, salt and light, as Jesus desires of us. 

So let’s endeavour to get rid of all the dissensions and divisions nuh, and just live peacefully with each other, because we are all ONE family, ONE fold of Almighty God. We won’t always agree, but because we are all of God, we can get along with His help. Now let’s go home sincerely declaring (right on!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our most enviable position in Christ Jesus. 

As one 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 will that future ever be glorious, if we hang on tightly to that plough with Jesus! Much LOVE!

…it’s time…for those in Christ…to stop drinking milk…and start eating solid food…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 February 2020 1 Peter 2:2.

1 Peter 2:2.    ​As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
 

Another Monday friends… Yes, one more in the long line of Mondays lined up for us to go through in our work experience! And hopefully some of us might eventually wise up and realize that it doesn’t make sense to go through the Monday morning blues every week, and thus find ways to minimize the weekly frustrations and consequently decrease our stress levels and add a modicum of happiness to our lives. (smile) That’s the basic hope of our Monday offering. 

But sadly, for whatever reason(s), not all of us will be able to do that, which means we will always have need for our Monday Morning Battle hymn to help us get our Monday fix of spiritual adrenaline from heaven on high, through the Holy Spirit. Now that’s not a bad thing, but with age and experience, we’re expected to achieve spiritual maturity, meaning our food types ought to improve too, move from soft, baby food, to adult stuff, like meat and spuds. (smile) 

But my people, what the Lord desires more than anything else is that we come to Him, in whatever state we’re in, humbly and sincerely when we need help, regardless of whether we’re still eating baby food when by age and Christian experience, we should be eating solid stuff. (smile) So let’s come before Him now nuh, humbly and sincerely crying out for help, but confidently expecting Him to help, because that’s His awesome promise, and He keeps His promises. 

Altogether now: ‘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!’ 

And our God is so wonderful, that the answer is on the way before we’ve even finished our supplication! Wow! Give Him some thanks and praise my fellow believers (steups!) for being such and awesome and compassionate Deity! Just look at how we’re all energized and smiling, how our attitudes have suddenly changed, and now we’re excited to go out and work for Jesus! That’s the power of the Holy Spirit friends doing the Father’s timely bidding! 

And today friends, we want to talk about spiritual immaturity, the fact that we ought to grow in our Christian faith and move on from Christianity 101 to higher grades and not have to keep repeating the elementary aspects of our faith. There are several scriptures in the Good Book that deal with the subject, a few of which we want to share, beginning with Peter’s admonishment: ‘Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.’ (1 Pet. 2:1-2) 

Yuh see that friends, young Christians, like babies need milk to grow, they too need to learn the elementary aspects of God’s Word. But unfortunately, many of us don’t grow spiritually, we remain carnal, doing the things that Peter advises against. Thus Bruh Paul also had to admonish the Corinthians. 

‘And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat (solid food); for hitherto (until now) ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions (dissensions), are ye not carnal (fleshly), and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?’ (1 Cor.3:1-4) 

Of course they are, since spiritually minded believers (steups!) don’t fight about who converted or baptized them, because it’s team work. As Bruh Paul says two verses later: ‘I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.’ (1 Cor. 3:6) Yeh friends, whatever work we do for God, in the long run, it’s He who causes our work to bear fruit. Let’s remember that and stop arguing amongst ourselves as to who’s doing better than the other, because that only causes strife and disunity and destroys our witness. 

Unfortunately, the continual warfare between the flesh and the spirit is a human trait that still exists, and is still causing disunity and division in Christ’s church today. As it was embarrassing to Bruh Paul with the Corinthians, so it is embarrassing today to see people who should know better, because of their long walk as Christians, still fighting and envying over petty stuff. And the scholars tell us that the flesh and spirit warfare was a big part of Bruh Paul’s writings, (cf.  Rom.7:14-8:13; Gal.5:17). Please check out those scriptures, for they are very important and enlightening. (smile) 

And the author of Hebrews didn’t pull any punches, but put it all in a direct manner. In his appeal to believe, he writes: ‘Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered (explained), seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time (by this time) ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles (sayings) of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat (solid food). 

For every one that useth (partakes of) milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat (solid food) belongeth to them that are of full age (mature), even those who by reason of use (practice) have their senses exercised  (trained) to discern both good and evil.’ (Heb. 5:11-14) 

Ah mih people, too many of us are still drinking milk when we should be eating solid food, and it’s only causing serious problems in our church and our world. Please, for Christ’s sake, and with the Lord’s help, let’s try and do better nuh. Much LOVE!

…there is too much warfare…between too many immature believers (yeah!)…in Christ’s church…  
 

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…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 November 2018 Galatians 5:22-23.

Galatians 5:22-23.  But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.
 

Another wet morning, without even a hopeful ray of sunshine! Steups! But thankfully, there’s no precipitation currently descending from on high! (smile) Ah friends, the gloom persists, but as believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we have all we need to handle it. And to boot, we can also truthfully declare: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps.118:24) 

And we would indeed be foolish if we did not enjoy this extra day the Lord has granted us on His great earth. And yes, every day we’re here is an extra day, so be wise and enjoy it and live obediently for Christ, do the work God has entrusted to you!

For we each have a purpose and a plan of God for this earthly life. Our God doesn’t move vie-ke-vie; in a careless, unplanned manner, so each day we’re down here means we still have work to do under His awesome, gracious, merciful and LOVING plan. So let’s get to it nuh! 

And it being Saturday, we will take a look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first quote says: ‘The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.’

And that’s oh so true! But unfortunately very few of us ever get to truly live the life of our dreams, because life is such a series of ups and downs, and none of us ever experience any downs in our dream life. (smile) 

The fact is that most of us have unreasonable dreams, and even with the reasonable ones, we’re not willing to work towards them. Now dreams are important in this life, but until we’re willing to action them, they will always remain dreams. 

 And the next quote tells us: ‘Live life to the fullest, and focus on the positive.’ Now that ought to be motto of the Christian believer! Christ said: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10b) What’s the point of having abundant life and not enjoying it to the fullest eh? It would only make Christ’s sacrifice a waste down. 

But to enjoy our lives, we also have to focus on the positive aspects, especially of Christ’s teaching, because the negative aspects of the world only beat and break us down. 

And the last quote says: ‘Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.’ Now that is gospel truth my brethren! In fact, death is not a loss of life at all, for believers it’s only a journey from one realm to the other, and even more importantly it’s from a short, finite and rough earthly life, to a long and glorious infinite eternal life. So we don’t suffer a loss of life at all, but move up to a higher, spiritual one. 

The problem is the stuff that dies inside of us while we’re living this earthly life. We’re talking about stuff like, hope, faith, joy, LOVE, mercy, forgiveness, empathy, self-control and self-discipline; the attributes of God we need to live a faithful and fruitful life; things we call the fruit of the Spirit.

Thus our Bit: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness (kindness), goodness, faith (faithfulness), Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.’ 

Yes my believing brethren, those are the things we want alive and well in all of us, so that we can live the life Jesus died for us to have, and to do His work. Unless those things are reigning in our lives we’ll be unable to live good, Christian, fruitful lives like Jesus desires of us.

The Holy Spirit of God dwells in each believer, and is there for the express purpose of leading and guiding us in God-filled lives. That means we have to follow the Spirit’s direction if we want to live successful Christian lives. 

As Bruh Paul so astutely continues: ‘And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (its passions). If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.’ (Gal.5:24-25) 

Now here are a few explanations from the scholars: ‘5:22-23. The word fruit is significant for three reasons (1) It means the result, product, outcome or effect produced by the Spirit in the believer’s life. (2) Unlike “the gifts of the Spirit” (plural), only some of which are given to a Christian, each believer is to have all nine virtues composing “the fruit of the Spirit” (singular). (3) As fruit on a tree takes time to grow and mature, so the spirit does not cultivate these virtues in the believer’s life overnight. 

LOVE is the willing, sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of another without thought of return. Joy is gladness of heart. Peace is tranquility of mind, freeing one from worry and fear. Long-suffering is patience with others, the opposite of a short temper, a disposition quietly bearing injury.

Gentleness is kindness. Goodness is generosity. Faith here is dependability. Meekness is gentleness, that is, courtesy and consideration in one’s relations with others. Temperance is self-control, that is, the ability to harness and control one’s passions and lusts.’ 

And there you have it friends, ‘the Fruit of the Spirit Lecture 101!’ (smile) Yes, I know it’s not easy to cultivate all those wonderful attributes, especially with the world on our back to do differently, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can certainly work towards them and be fairly successful if we set our minds to it. 

Remember, as believers in Christ, we are done with carnal fleshly matters, and are supposed to live by the Spirit of Christ imbued in us. So let’s do that nuh, and consequently fulfill Bruh Paul’s desire: ‘Let us not be desirous of vain glory (conceited), provoking one another, envying one another.’ (Gal.5:26). Much LOVE!

…to grow good fruit…we have to sow good seed…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 September 2018 John 10:11.

John 10:11. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
 

Ah friends, sorry for the Bit’s lateness, but I went to bed late, got up late, and had a few things to do before I began writing. But the good news is, here I am at last! Glory! Glory! (smile) 

 Oh isn’t it just great to be alive? To be able to laugh and sing, run and jump, (not me… just yet), and even cry once in a while? It surely is, especially when we are living with and working for our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Oh praise His holy name my faithful brethren; exalt the name that’s above EVERY other name, to whom ALL knees MUST eventually bow! 

Yeh, that’s our Messiah, our Prince of Peace, our heavenly Advocate, Our Burden Bearer, Our Comforter, in fact our Be All and End All, our EVERYTHING! Wow! Are we ever so blessed to have a Leader of such awesome proportions! Let’s give Him the thanks and praise He deserves…and all day long at that! 

Yeh, the ole fella’s in a joyful, exclamatory mood this morning! And why not eh? I just got some most excellent news; news that my heart problems have improved…Glory to God! And I’m now medically fit to travel…Oh mih brethren, that’s the best news ever! 

It’s been almost three years that I’ve been parked up here without the ability to get on an iron bird. But yuh know what, as I keep saying our God is ever so faithful, because many a day I’ve lain in my bed and looked through my window at the iron birds coming and going to and from the nearby airport, wondering when I’d be able to get on one. 

And the Good Lord has always quieted my heart by promising that one day, in the not too distant future, He will lift the medical limitations and free me from this onerous bondage… And now He has done just as He has promised! Bless His holy name! So in light of that extraordinary faithfulness, why wouldn’t I just offer up my whole heart and soul, thanks and praise to Him eh? No reason whatsoever my people! 

But enough of my excitement…let’s get on with the Bit. It’s Saturday, that means we need to look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week. And we do have a whole slew of then this week, all dealing with change. And we will begin with this one: ‘If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less.’ 

I’m not so sure about that nuh, because the human animal is so eccentric and confusing, and dislikes change so much, that a lot of us will probably prefer to be irrelevant rather than to change. That leads us to this quote: ‘The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.’ 

Now that I definitely disagree with! In my many years and much trial and testing on God’s earth, I’ve usually found that the price of change is usually much higher than the price of standing stationary. In particular the effort that one has to put out to make whatever change is necessary. That’s why so many people just stay the same way in the same place. 

That’s why this next quote is the living truth! ‘Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.’ Now that’s exactly why so many of us resist change, even change that’s obviously in our best interest! Change just doesn’t come easy. And this one mirrors the truth of the last. ‘The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.’ And so it has my brethren… though not always for the better! 

That brings us to the last quote: ‘I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.’ And isn’t that that the undeniable truth people? Unless our world changes, and drastically too, and also towards Jesus, until we stop trying to drive God out of our society and instead, embrace Him with all our hearts, souls, bodies and minds, our world will just continue sinking inexorably, relentlessly into the muck and mire of Lucifer’s evil empire. 

And that is not what our Saviour came to earth and suffered so much for. That’s definitely not why He suffered such pain and humiliation and eventually gave up His sinless life on that wooden cross at Calvary. If He wanted us to become part and parcel of Lucifer’s evil empire, He would have just remained in His cozy corner in heaven enjoying all the exotic delights provided by His Father. But He sacrificially gave all of that up to come and save our sinful souls. 

Remember friends, Lucifer is the master of thievery, lies and deception, an evil genius in leading mankind astray. Just look at how he deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he’s still doing it to us to this day. However Jesus declared, and proved it too: ‘The thief cometh not, but (except) for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:10-11) 

And there is absolutely no doubt that that’s what Jesus did on the cross at Calvary; give His sinless, holy life on behalf of our abominable sinful souls, so that the Father could justifiably forgive us and reconcile us to Himself. So why are we still foolishly running behind Lucifer and his evil, lustful, carnal, ungodly way of life eh? A way of life that will only lead to eternal separation from our heavenly Father; the worst fate that can ever befall a human soul! 

I don’t know the answer to that nuh friends, but I am surely trying my best to stay away from that end result…and I sincerely hope that you are trying to do the same, because that’s the ultimate in wisdom! Much LOVE!

…as for me and mine…we will definitely follow Jesus…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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