Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 June 2020 Matthew 5:14a.

Matthew 5:14a.     ​Ye are the light of the world… 
 

Yes, we’re disappointed because there’s still no corporate worship on this Sabbath Sunday, but since we’re true and faithful followers of the great, powerful and imaginative Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we will find a way to worship and celebrate the Sabbath while physically distancing! (smile) No doubt about that my people! And we’re not worried, because we know that some day, as soon as the Lord is good and ready, all these present troubles will pass. And all God’s children gave a loud and positive shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah! This too shall end!’ 

But until it does, we have to keep worshipping through technological means, and to tell the truth we still get to do most things, except the physical gathering and touching. But enough talk…we come here to worship not engage in idle chatter. (smile) And as always, we open with a sacrifice of praise, today’s hymn being titled, ‘Give Me Oil in My Lamp.’ And to tell the truth, I didn’t even know that was the correct name until I looked it up yesterday. I always knew it as a local spiritual ditty called, ‘A li’l more Oil in My Lamp,’ sung in some of the more evangelical churches, that got the spirit moving and the feet dancing. 

And so, in honour of that ‘Ole Time Religion,’ we going to sing it that way. I hope you like this one, mih pardner Scotty… hope it brings back memories. (smile) So let’s get the hands a clapping and the feet a dancing and voices in full, harmonious throat, as we sing praises to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! 

‘A li’l more oil in my lamp, to keep it burning. A li’l more oil in my lamp, I pray. A li’l more oil in my lamp, to keep it burning. Keep it burning till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!) A li’l more LOVE in my heart, to keep me sharing. A li’l more LOVE in my heart, I pray. A li’l more LOVE in my heart, to keep me sharing. Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain) 

A li’l more joy in my heart, to keep me singing. A li’l more joy in my heart, I pray. A li’l more joy in my heart, to keep me singing. Keep me singing till the break of day. (Refrain) A li’l more faith in my heart, to keep me praying. A li’l more faith in my heart, I pray. A li’l more faith in my heart, to keep me praying. Keep me praying till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!)’ 

Ah mih people, that was indeed a rousing rendition. It reminded me of how the Pentecostal Church where I grew up would be humming and jumping when they gave praise. But I guess to each his own, and I don’t think the Lord refuses any kind of praise, once it’s sincere. And I have one person’s view point on the benefit of the song. ‘For the religious, one interpretation is that it signifies a thirst for spiritual food—spiritual food to get one through the darkest of times in hopes of a brighter day, a clearer vision of one’s path or until one gains their salvation.’ 

And believe me friends, it certainly gives us spiritual food for dark and tough times! When we seek to have more, light, LOVE, joy and faith in our hearts and souls, it does inspire us to rise above our earthly problems and also receive divine guidance and wisdom to do the work that Christ desires of us. And right now I’m seeking some of that divine guidance and wisdom to know where to go from here. (smile) And I believe this is where I’m being guided. 

The first place is to the parable of the ten virgins; five who were wise enough to take extra oil for their lamps, and five who were foolish not to do so. We are expected to be like the first five; wise and take oil with us when we go to wait for the bridegroom at the wedding feast, so that our lights don’t go out if He takes a long time to come. Remember, Jesus expects us to be bright, shining beacons to the world: As He clearly says: ‘Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:14a; 16) 

And to do that in an excellent and diligent manner, as the song says, we need other things; like LOVE. And hear Jesus on the subject: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) Oh friends, that seems clear and straightforward! But does our behaviour tell that story? Not nearly enough as it ought to! 

And would you believe that if we truly followed Jesus’ advice, our lives would be filled with that unsurpassable blessing called joy? And not the joy of this world, but Jesus’ special kind. ‘These things have I spoken unto you; that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full.’ (John 13:11) And later on, He again told the disciples: ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ (John 16:24) And let’s not forget ‘that the joy of the Lord is our strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) So without it, we’re weak, fragile and unable to do His work properly. 

That brings us to the last piece of the puzzle, but the first one we need to acquire, and the one that keeps us keeping on; faith. That ‘substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb.11:1) Yes friends, buoyed by hope, we achieve faith; assurance in the New Testament, and this brings us to a certain and sure conviction in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Obviously we can get deeper into all of those topics, but hopefully this will suffice for now, will serve as a catalyst to keep us strong and steadfast in prayer, with LOVE for each other, like shining lights filled with joy, and doing the best we can in these turbulent times. Much LOVE!

…to know Christ’s joy…and LOVE…and peace…is to accept Him forever…as Lord and Saviour…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 June 2013 1 Thessalonians 3:12

1 Thessalonians 3:12:    And the Lord make you to increase and abound in LOVE one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.
 
Oh Friends and fellow believers, welcome to a brand new day! And though it may seem the same as any other day, I can guarantee you that it’s not. No day in God’s making is ever the same, because He creates them anew, right from scratch every 24 hours. He lays in new mercies and blessings for us to enjoy, new paths for us to follow, new people to meet, new things to do, plus new trials to go through and overcome that will make us grow and mature in our faith.
 
Therefore, let us give Him some thanks and praise this Sunday morning, for bringing us safely through the dark, fearful night of yesterday, into the bright and sparkling sunshine of today, a today filled with a multitude of opportunities for our personal growth, as well as the furtherance of His glorious kingdom.
 
And as we are wont to say, let’s say it loud and clear: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will most certainly rejoice and be glad in it!’
 
And for all of us who believe in Christ as Lord and Saviour, I hope that we will go to His sanctuary sometime this weekend, whenever we celebrate the Sabbath, and have joyful fellowship with other believers. That’s because the Lord’s house is where His children should find the utmost comfort, confidence and renewal of spirit with others of like mind.
 
Unfortunately though, for one reason or another, many believers don’t find comfort and a welcoming spirit in their churches, and that’s rather sad.  For if you can’t find comfort and solace in God’s house, amongst others like yourself, where else are you going to find it eh?
 
Oh my brethren, God’s house, from the most broken down, run of the mill church building, to the most beautiful modern sanctuary, in fact wherever two or three are gathered together in His Name, those places are supposed to be the most welcoming and encouraging places on God’s great earth!
 
And if they aren’t, then we, Christ’s supposed followers are not doing our jobs. Some churches are so cold, unresponsive and unwelcoming that I don’t know how they expect people to come there and worship. Nary a smile you see, or a chuckle you hear in some of them, while others take it to the other extreme, have it like it’s simply a party affair.
 
But Friends, it’s essential that we have a fine blend in our churches; a blend and balance of seriousness and levity to evoke both aspects of our human nature. One extreme is just as bad as the other.
 
That brings us to our Bit: ‘And the Lord make you to increase and abound in LOVE one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.’
 
Bruh Paul is here praying for the church at Thessalonica, as he habitually did for all the churches. ‘To the end (so that) he may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father (our God and Father), at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.’ (1 Thess.3:13)
 
Yes Friends, we definitely ought to do better in our churches, so that when Jesus comes again, He’ll find us fairly blameless, not the nest of vipers that we’ve recently become.
 
That led Bruh Paul to open Chapter 4 with an appeal for purity. ‘Furthermore, then we beseech (urge) you brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.’ (1 Thess.4:1)
 
There he begins exhorting them on the essence of living a practical Christian life. And you can read verses 2-12, where he talks about staying away from sexual immorality, the passion of lust, fraud, vengeance, deceit, etc. Instead though, we should be seeking things that pertain to and promote brotherly LOVE, as we ‘are taught of God to LOVE one another.’ (1 Thess.4:9b)
 
Ah mih people, are we finding those positive actions and attributes in our churches today? To some extent I guess. But sadly we have too much of the negative aspects, that’s why there are so many denominations and sects, divisions and divisiveness in the supposed one body of Christ’s church. We’re not different religions, but ONE CHRISTIAN BODY!
 
And we’ll close with some encouraging words of Bruh Paul in his second letter to the church at Thessalonica. ‘We are bound to thank God always for you brethren, as it is meet (fitting), because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity (LOVE) of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.’ (2 Thess.1:3)
 
Oh Friends and fellow believers, that is the goal to which we should all be working and striving towards, so that Christ’s church here on earth can truly reflect His wonderful, LOVING character and make unbelievers greatly desire to become a part of it. That’s one of our stated purposes, as we see from Matthew 28:19-20 where Jesus told His disciples to go out and spread the Word to the whole earth.
 
We’re surely not doing too good a job at it right now, and until we do, Christ’s church here on earth will not progress as it should, and there’ll be no one to blame but ourselves. Do we want to have that black mark against our earthly watch? I doubt it very much.
 
Oh Friends, we have all the tools we need to do it lying dormant and unused within us. And you know the saying if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. That’s exactly what’s happening to us.
 
So let’s follow the leading of the Holy Spirit nuh! Let’s allow it to ramp up our passion and energy and LOVE for Jesus and go out there into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us and get the job done! That’s truly following in Christ’s footsteps! Much LOVE!
 
…how can we say we LOVE Jesus…when we’re not doing as He desires eh…