Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 October 2018 2 Timothy 2:3.

2 Timothy 2:3.    Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

 

So where are all roads leading this Sunday morning eh friends: to church or not to church? I sure hope that the road to the Lord’s sanctuary will indeed be the one more travelled by His children.

That’s because we need to refuel our souls and spirits on a weekly basis, and there’s no better place to do so than in God’s house with other believers; singing and praising, worshipping and receiving His tender mercies, forgiveness, assurance and confidence to keep on keeping on in His name. 

And as always, before we receive the Lord’s Word, we like to engage in some praise and worship, to soften our hearts and make them more receptive to the Holy Scripture. And today’s song of praise is one written way back in 1865 by Sabine Baring-Gould.

However it never became popular until 1871 when Arthur Sullivan composed some music he called “St. Gertrude,” after the wife of his Friend Ernest Clay Ker Seymer, at whose country home he composed the tune. In time, the Salvation Army adopted the hymn as its favoured processional.’ 

But it was never clear sailing for ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ because some religious people considered it too militant and militaristic.  But as all good tunes do, it has weathered the storms of controversy, and is now one of our favourite processional hymns.

So let’s blast it out now nuh, in full voice and sincere hearts. Let out song rise to heaven so mightily and sincerely that it will have them up there marching and singing with us.

‘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, onto 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 honour, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before… (Repeat).’ 

Yeh friends, what better way to describe Christ’s followers than as a victorious army marching forward, subduing all the evil world before it! Unfortunately though, I don’t think Jesus would look at His church right now as a conquering army, but more like a divided, lazy, compromising, bunch of misfits, for all the progress we’re making. 

On our current watch, more people seem to be turning away from God than are turning to Him. So how does that make us victorious eh? Hell’s foundations aren’t quivering, neither is Satan’s host fleeing because our efforts on Christ’s behalf are not powerful or compelling enough to do either. 

My heart hurts when I sing the line, ‘We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.’ That’s just not true, because the church of Christ is more divided than it’s ever been, and mostly over petty stuff, that’s why the evil one and his evil minions are having such a heyday in today’s world. 

The theme of the song is apparently based on Bruh Paul’s encouragement to Timothy regarding the Christian being a soldier for Christ. ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ 

And remember my fellow believers, it’s not a physical but spiritual war we’re fighting. Thus Bruh Paul continues to Timothy: ‘No man that warreth entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’ (2 Tim.2:4) 

And Jesus is the one who has chosen us to lead His LOVE Revolution in these combative and perilous times, so we ought to be about His business more seriously and diligently than we are. I guess what we need is a refresher course in what it takes to be a true soldier in Christ’s army.

Hear Bruh Paul spell it out to the Ephesians, and consequently to us. ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Let yourselves be constantly strengthened by His mighty power.)  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world (age), against spiritual (hosts of) wickedness (wicked spiritual beings) in high places. Wherefore take unto you (take up) the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph.6:10-13) 

Yes mih people, the first rule in being a good soldier is to put on protection, in this case God’s armour. And what’s that? ‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt (girded) about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one). And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:’ (Eph.6:14-17) 

Yuh see friends, just like a soldier has armour, protection to fight a physical war, we believers in Christ’s spiritual army also have protective armour; truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and God’s word.

But you know that still isn’t enough, Bruh Paul then concludes: ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph.6:18) That’s right my brethren, with all that armour, prayer is still a necessity for us to win the fight, and prayer for all of God’s children too. 

So now that we’ve had that refresher course in spiritual soldiering, (smile) let’s buckle down and do better nuh. Look at all Christ has done for us, can’t we just stand up strong for Him? Aw shucks friends, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves with the miserly effort we’re putting forth on His behalf! Much LOVE!

…the word of God is quick (living)…sharper than any two edged sword…piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 June 2017 Ephesians 6:11.

Ephesians 6:11.   Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil.

Well mih friends and family, it seems the ole fella was a tad late when he said yesterday that summer would be with us in a couple of days. Hn, hn! Apparently summer has officially been with us for three days now. (smile) 

And my excuse, which by the way I’m sticking to, is that I don’t remember it being on the 20th of June, but more like the 22 or 23. Just goes to show you ought to check your calendar before you make such statements. 

But be that as it may, let’s hope we have a good summer season, one worthy to be called summer; not too hot, but hot enough to make one know that it’s summer…if you follow my convoluted reasoning. So far it has been somewhat mild, with a touch of spring still present, but it’s still early days yet. 

And before we get into today’s sermon (smile), here is a nugget of gold, one of the little snippets that appear at the end of each day’s Daily Bread Devotion. It says: ‘Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. Nothing is greater than God’s LOVE. Nothing is stronger than God’s mercy and grace. Nothing is too hard for God’s power.’ 

Now if ALL of that isn’t gospel truth, then I don’t know what is! Our God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, which means He is all-powerful, all seeing and everywhere! You can’t beat that friends! 

And He has so generously granted some of His awesome power to us mere mortals, but we need to accept it, to graciously receive it, because there’s nothing we can do to work for or deserve it. It’s just His wonderful free gift. 

Now one of the things we’re talking about here is the power to rebuke and successfully conquer and control the evil enemy, who desires to take over our lives and turn us away from sincerely worshipping the One and Only True God, He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

So let’s bring in our Bit and continue our conversation from yesterday. ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil.’  

And we’re going to repeat the verses that contain the description of God’s spiritual armour, so that we’ll have them right in front of us and not have to turn elsewhere to find them. 

‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt about (girded your loins) with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one). 

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph.6:14-18) 

Now yesterday we explained up to the breastplate of righteousness, so today we’ll continue the scholars explanations with the third piece of God’s armour: ‘Preparation of the gospel of peace (vs.15) which means “eagerness that comes from the gospel of peace.” 

That is, as the Roman soldier wore special shoes called ‘caligae’ on his feet, enabling him to advance against his enemy, so the Christian must have on his feet (possess) a sense of “eagerness” or “willingness” to advance against the Devil and take the fight to him. 

Such “eagerness” to contend with Satan “comes from the gospel of peace.” The gospel gives peace to the believer, freeing him from the anxiety though he advances against such a powerful opponent.’ 

Oh friends, how wonderful is that eh? The gospel of peace frees us from fear and anxiety and allows us to courageously battle Satan. But please note one important point, we ought not to sit back and let the evil Lucifer come against us, we must take the fight to Him, battle him on our terms, on our turf. As they say, the best defence is offence. 

And the fourth piece of God’s armour is ‘The shield of (which is) faith (vs.16). And that means taking God at His word by believing His promises. Such trust will prevent one from doubts induced by Satan.’ 

And that’s awfully important my fellow believers, for Lucifer is the father of lies and deceit and doubts, and if we’re not very careful and have a strong faith and trust in Almighty God, he can easily deceive us into thinking and doing the wrong things. 

Now time and space have run out against us, so we’ll have to continue this tomorrow. And I look at it as God’s mysterious working, not giving us too much stuff to ponder in one sitting. So please think seriously on what we’ve said to day, while we walk gratefully in God’s LOVE and mercy. 

And to end it all on a magnificent note, let’s declare our Thursday Blessings with much gusto and sincere belief. In unison now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! 

I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! 

I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

And since blessings were meant to be shared, let’s go out and joyfully share them nuh, as Jesus so avidly desires of us. Much LOVE!

…having on God’s armour…makes us all invincible conquerors…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 May 2016 Ephesians 6:11‏‏

Ephesians 6:11.   Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil.

Oh my people, who ever says that life isn’t good eh, tell them I say that deh lie! (smile)

Oh, like everybody else, I have my spate of problems, but I try to put them at God’s feet at the cross, per His Great Invitation to come and unburden ourselves on Him. (Matt.11:28-30) And that leaves me more time to enjoy His beautifully created universe. 

Now, I guess you all must be wondering what has me waxing so ecstatically this early, on a somewhat cloudy morning? Well it’s no rocket science friends. It’s simply because for the first time this year, I was able to sit comfortably on my front porch at two a.m and commune with my Maker. Oh glory to God mih people! 

And those of you who know me, know that I’m just a simple man with simple tastes, thus simple things enthuse me. 

And when I can sit on my porch in the early hours of the morning in the north country, without much clothes on, feeling the cool wind blow over me, and hear it rustle the the leaves of the fully clothed trees with song, as I look out over the quiet boulevard in a fairly decent neighbourhood, admire the lights in the surrounding gardens, and spy at the beautiful full moon through the dry, gnarled branches of the dead ash tree on my front lawn – got to cut it down soon yes – and above all, commune quietly with my God, then I must be thrilled! I couldn’t be anything other than that! 

It’s almost like being in Paradise – Sweet Tobago. All I’m missing now is the gentle crashing of the sea on the rocky shoreline. Mama Mia! So how can I not be happy eh mih breddren? Oh friends, it just makes me want to sing, to shout in praise and thanksgiving! 

So let’s do that nuh. Everyday we talk about ‘This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps.118:24) Well the best part of rejoicing is singing praise and worship and thanksgiving. 

So please sing with me, the chorus of another of my favourite gospel songs that I recently heard; a nice li’l rocking reggae ditty by Jermain Cowan titled ‘Re-Arrange my life.’ 

Singing: ‘Things I used to do, I do them no more. Since You saved me. Places I used to go, I go there no more. Lord for You I rearranged my life. Jehovah, please stay by my side.’ 

And Again: ‘Things I used to do, I do them no more. Since you saved me. Places I used to go, I go there no more. Lord for You I rearranged my life. Jehovah please stay by my side.’ 

Oh friends, that’s how Christians are supposed to be when we get saved and become new creations in Jesus! And what more can we ask than for Jehovah God to stand always by our side eh? Not much. And we know He’ll do it, because He’s faithful to His promises. 

And we’re not done singing and rejoicing this morning my breddren. It’s Wednesday, that means we have to wail out our Wednesday Wail. 

So wailing, with sincerity and strong faith: ‘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!’ 

Ah my fellow believers, how good it is to feel the breath of life coursing through our mortal bodies this morning, especially when we’re walking steadfastly with Jesus, looking forward to the glorious future He has promised. Glory Hallelujah! 

Now I’m chuckling here because I don’t know if we have much time and space left for our Bit. But since we’ve been rejoicing and singing praise and worship and giving thanks, it surely means that we’re in full agreement with it. 

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil.’ 

Yeh friends, we can’t give our great and wonderful God thanks and praise without having on at least some of His protective spiritual armour. Now finally, let’s see what that armour of God consists of. 

Listen to Bruh Paul enlighten the Ephesians and us. ‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt about (girded your waist) with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one). 

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph.6:14-18) 

Yes my breddren, that’s basically what the armour of God consists of. And we’ll end there so we can ponder it all. Tomorrow, God in favour, we’ll get into a deeper discourse of all the ramifications. (smile) 

Till then though, please, let’s walk in LOVE and true fellowship, wisely eschewing, abstaining from the lusts of the world for the rewards of heaven. For that’s the true mark of wisdom. Much LOVE!

…once the lifeblood of God is flowing through a Christian…songs of praise and thanksgiving must emanate from his mouth…