Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 November 2022 Psalm 122:1.

Psalm 122:1.        I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.

Once again friends, it’s time to gather round and lift up our voices and hearts in praise, worship and thanksgiving to our wonderful God! It’s Sunday, the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, that makes it the most important day of the week! Let us not forget His warning, in no uncertain terms: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) 

And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing today, beginning, as we always do, with a song of praise. Today’s song is a li’l ditty we all know and LOVE, titled ‘Crying in the Chapel.’ Most of us might know the Elvis Presley version, but there have been numerous versions down through the years since Artie Glenn wrote it in 1951 for his son Darrell to sing. However, it apparently languished in a desk drawer for two years until Darrell, while still in High School, finally recorded it in 1953 with Artie’s Band, the Rhythm Riders. 

From the time it was released it became a favourite, possibly because of the deep sense of peace and contentment it radiates. I believe Elvis’ version in 1965 was the biggest chart topper, but today we’re going to do a version by the First Lady of song, Miss Ella Fitzgerald. It’s a more light and airy, bluesy, mid-tempo, but still very soulful treatment, not as dark and dirge-like as some of the other versions. (smile) So let’s open our hearts and voices and lift sacrificial praise to high heaven. 

‘You saw me crying in the chapel. The tears I shed were tears of joy I know the meaning of contentment Now I am happy with the Lord. Just a plain and simple chapel Where humble people go to pray I prayed the Lord that I’ll grow stronger As I live from day to day I searched (I searched) and I searched (I searched) but I couldn’t find No way on earth to gain peace of mind Now I’m happy in the chapel Where people are of one accord (One accord) Yes, we gather in the chapel Just to sing and praise the Lord – 

Meet your neighbors in the chapel, Join with them in tears of joy, You’ll be happy with the Lord – You’ll search and you’ll search but you’ll never find No way on earth to gain peace of mind Take your troubles to the chapel Get down on your knees and pray Then your burdens will be lighter And you’ll surely find the way (and you’ll surely find the way) Yes, you’ll surely find the way.’ 

Oh my fellow believers that’s exactly why we are gathered here today in the Lord’s sanctuary; so that we can get down on our knees and pray, have our burdens lightened and find the way, which leads directly through Christ Jesus. Remember His fateful words. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:8) 

And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! No one can enter into the Father’s presence unless they first go through the Son, Jesus, for He’s the Father’s gate keeper. As the psalmist says of children in Psalm 127: ‘Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.) (Ps. 127:5) Yes, friends, that’s what Jesus does for His Father; speaks with the enemies that come to the gate and drives them off, unless they bow to His wishes. 

Now that’s where we come in. We were once enemies of the Father, but once Jesus arrived on the scene, His sacrificial death on the cross killed all enmity, brought reconciliation and forgiveness, and now we’re LOVING Jesus and bowing to His every wish. (smile) But on a more serious note my people, the words in today’s song ring oh so true that we can’t help but pay attention. Listen to them nuh: ‘You’ll search and you’ll search but you’ll never find No way on earth to gain peace of mind.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth! But when you turn to Jesus, then you’ll find the peace that passeth all understanding. That’s His peace. As He so clearly defines it. ‘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) Wow! There’s no peace on earth like Jesus’! 

And the good thing about it is that you don’t have to stand on no ceremony to receive it. As the song says: ‘ Take your troubles to the chapel Get down on your knees and pray Then your burdens will be lighter And you’ll surely find the way.’ Yes friends, it’s that true and easy. Why yuh think Bruh David said in Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps. 122:1) 

And furthermore, it doesn’t have to be no fancy chapel, but ‘Just a plain and simple chapel Where humble people go to pray.’ Oh my, my! And what happened there eh? ‘I prayed the Lord that I’ll grow stronger As I live from day to day.’ Plain and simple, straightforward, heartfelt communication. And what was the result of that communication? ‘You saw me crying in the chapel. The tears I shed were tears of joy I know the meaning of contentment Now I am happy with the Lord.’ 

Ah mih people, there are no tears like tears of joy, because they just refresh our souls, wash them clean, and bring contentment. But all of that can only be achieved when one is in strong league with Jesus Christ. Please remember that. The world and its evil sinful self cannot offer it. And before we end, I want to point out one very important fact in the song. ‘Now I’m happy in the chapel Where people are of one accord.’ 

Oh my fellow saints, being of one accord, of one spirit, mind and agreement is ever so important in the Christian life. Bruh Paul thought it so important that he noted it in several of his missives to the churches. Like this one to the Philippians. ‘If there be therefore any consolation (encouragement) in Christ, if any comfort (consolation, solace) of LOVE, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels (affection) and mercies (sympathy). 

Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same LOVE (showing no partiality), being of one accord (united in spirit), of one mind (the whole church with the same values and goals). Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (selfish ambition or conceit): but in lowliness of mind (humility) let each esteem other better than themselves (regard his fellow Christian as more important than himself). Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others (be just as concerned for the needs and problems of one’s brother believer as for one’s own affairs).’ (Phil. 2:1-4) 

Yes friends, that’s how Christianity ought to work. It seems the church at Philippi overall wasn’t bad, but there was some disunity and lack of harmony, which Bruh Paul needed fixed for his joy to be complete in them. And oh, is there ever a great deal of disunity and disharmony in the current church of Christ, that He desperately needs fixed for His joy to be complete. So please, I implore us, for our children and their children’s sake, let’s get together seriously and sincerely nuh, and start working on narrowing our differences and divisions, many of which are selfish and petty and can be easily corrected if we truly want to be sincere saints of Christ. Much LOVE!

…nothing will warm the cockles of Christ’s heart…like His church truly being of one accord…                                                                                                                                

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 October 2020 John 8:12.

John 8:12.     ​I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Another wet and dreary day seems to be in the offing. But yuh know, unlike what the Carpenters said in their hit song way back in 1971, it’s not only rainy days and Mondays that get me down, but rainy days period. (smile) It’s just that rainy days seem to have this inherent touch of melancholia in them; just like sunshiny days have a built-in sense of upliftment. You see the sun and spirits automatically lift despite your circumstances. Likewise, you experience the wet and dreary looking weather and your spirits tend to fall somewhat, the attitude of relaxation and laziness also seem to pop up. (smile) You have to actively lift them up again. 

And so it is with this Tuesday morning, after a rather melancholy Monday. But yuh know friends, when you have Jesus as your Guiding Light, the kind of physical day doesn’t really matter, because He Himself is such a wonderful ray of sunshine that just thinking of Him and talking to him automatically lifts you up! Glory to God my people! Jesus Himself revealed His awesome Light. ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) 

But unfortunately, the Pharisees disputed His authority because He witnessed to Himself, which to them, invalidated His claim. That however did not change anything, all it meant was that the Pharisees would remain on the outside looking in; stubborn, like the head-butting goats they were. (smile) As Jesus’ reply indicated. ‘Though I bear record (witness) of myself, yet my record (witness) is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.’ (John 8:14) 

Now here is an interesting explanation on Jesus being the light of the world from the www.biblestudytools.com website. ‘Jesus saying He is the Light of the world is the outer recognition of His Father’s creation and presence, and the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit, by which we know our Father and walk with Jesus. Jesus is the Light of the world, our world, and in the world. Like God is omnipresent, so Jesus is Light.’ Ah friends, what a wonderful depiction of Jesus; His light just shining everywhere, being the ever-present reality, our invaluable and unbreakable connection to the Father! 

And it’s obvious that the Pharisees, supposedly the most learned scriptural group back then, didn’t know or understand the true meaning of the scriptures, or were simply being egotistical and guarding their earthly power, for Isaiah said it loud and clear. ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ (Is. 9:2) 

The prophet Malachi also told us about the bright Light that would come. ‘But unto you that fear my name shall the SUN of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall (grow fat like stall fed calves).’ (Mal. 4:2) 

Now if the Pharisees were so wise or knowledgeable of the scriptures, they would have put two and two together and come up with four and not three, especially since Jesus was healing people like crazy, something they’d never seen before. Or, possibly, as I said earlier, they did come up with four, but were wary of losing their upper crust position if they acknowledged Jesus for whom He really was. 

One stumbling block for the whole Jewish society though, seemed to be the thinking that the Messiah would be this great warrior king who would come and through war-like means, free them from the Roman atrocities, not a gentle, meek, peaceful Rabbi with LOVE as the basis of His testimony. And no doubt we have also been influenced by what or whom we believe Jesus to be in our lives, not what He truly is, and thus have erred in our direction, belief and behaviour, just like the Pharisees did. 

That can clearly be seen in all the different religions and denominations, doctrines, beliefs and behaviour held under the same great umbrella called Christianity. Thus the great disunity amongst Christ’s supposed followers. And thus, the lack of substantial testimony from us on Jesus declaration. ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ 

Yes friends, when Jesus returned to heaven, He designated us as His replacement for light in this ungodly world. But have we done that? Not to the extent that we should have, for there are still too many unbelievers out there, who have never heard about Jesus, or heard about Him and refused to believe because of our dark, unlit testimony. 

So my people, this dark and cloudy morning, please let’s remember Jesus words and do our best to put them into action nuh. ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt. 5:14-15) 

Those are words of awesome truth people, and if our light was shining as bright and as far reaching as possible, our hold on life worldwide right now would certainly not be as intimidating and tenuous. That means we have to raise our level of shining. In the immortal words of Jesus: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) 

And that’s all Jesus really expects of us yes friends; that we give good testimony of Him through our beliefs and behaviour, so that the Father can be glorified, which is what the Father sent him to do. And in these dangerous and uncertain times, it behooves us Christians to come up higher than we ever have, so the world around us can take some courage and assurance in Christ’s guiding light that shines forth through us. So let’ step up to the plate and do better nuh mih people. 

And now, as we go home, let’s boldly and confidently proclaim to the world, who and whose we are by declaring (steups!) our Tuesday Mantra. ‘In God’s eyes, 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!’  

And if we’re sincere, we’ll now go out and share that awesome LOVE and friendship of Christ with others who, in these desperate times, so desperately need to know and come to LOVE Him! Much LOVE!

…light will always overcome darkness…but only when it’s shone there…